University of Florida’s men's swimming and diving team. [Caleb Ross/WRUF]

Pat Dooley’s Back Nine: Wow Weekend For Florida Athletics

The Back Nine comes at you after one of those weekends that makes the Gator Nation warm and fuzzy all over.

 10. But we have to start with the big national story which was the court-storming by Wake Forest students that caused an injury to Duke’s Kyle Filipowski. The answer is the same one I have been espousing for a long time. Fines have no effect (especially because the ACC does not fine its member institutions). The answer is as simple as it was the last time someone stormed a court and everybody was upset. Take away a home game the following year. I guarantee you these schools would step up their security.

11. But I also know there are people who strongly believe you don’t want to take the fun out of college sports. It’s not a right to be able to run like a maniac filming with your cell phone through a maze of people, some who are just trying to get off the floor. I know. Get off my lawn and get off my court. Look, this is the way I felt when I wasn’t old yet.

12. OK, let’s get to all of the fun of the weekend, starting with the most important of all – swimming. Hey, I take the SEC championships seriously, so let’s begin with that sport where Florida swept the men’s and women’s titles for the second year in a row and 10thtime in school history. The men have now won 12 in a row and Florida extended its all-time lead in conference championships with its 276th. Special tip of the cap to Florida’s Bella Sims, who won the Commissioner’s Trophy for scoring the most points on the women’s side. The number for the men to shoot for is 49 because they trail only Kentucky basketball for the most SEC titles.

13. And then, of course, there was basketball where the Gators took care of business against Vanderbilt in a game where it never trailed. The Gators won with Micah Handlogten, Zyon Pullin and Riley Kugel combining for four points, which tells you this is a team that has a lot of weapons. If Will Richard has truly rediscovered his shot, yikes, this is a dangerous team.

14. Which brings us to the NET Rankings. Florida actually dropped to 31 despite winning and picking up two Quad 1 wins because other teams lost. On Sunday, Florida added a Quad 2 loss to the resume, but somebody won a game or lost a game and that loss is now gone. But it could come back. It’s complicated. But Florida is in good shape to make the tournament. You need to handle a Missouri team that hasn’t won a conference game and beat Vanderbilt on the road. Anything else would improve your seed line.

15. Next up, gymnastics. Florida beat No. 2 LSU in a tight meet that came down to Leanne Wong on the floor. She needed a 9.85. She instead got a 10. Clutch. That was a really nice win for the ladies, because they had been battling to get a score above 198, too. Even with the opt-outs for the Olympics, coach Jenny Rowland has a strong team which could win the SEC title on Sunday in Kentucky.

16. Let’s wrap up the neighbors here in one session. Baseball, softball and lacrosse share the same parking and luckily lacrosse on the road was winning a big overtime match at No. 5 Maryland. Because I can tell you that the place was packed at 11 a.m. Sunday. I parked closer to the O-Dome than the baseball stadium. Gator fans are showing up. So did both teams, although the competition will ratchet up in the coming weeks.

17. It was a great weekend … unless you lost to Georgia in women’s basketball. Sometimes, you don’t come ready to play.

18. Man, it’s almost March, so I’m starting to get butterflies for the 29thBob Dooley Invitational. Here is a playlist to help the fluttering stop: sports columnist Pat Dooley can be heard on “The Tailgate” along with Jeff Cardozo from 4-6 p.m. Monday-Friday on 98.1-FM/AM-850 WRUF.


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