Sweet Season Moves on to the Big Easy

Perhaps it's appropriate that the Gator basketball team is headed to the land of beignets and other confections because this is turning out to be one of the sweetest seasons in Florida history.

Geez, did I really write that? How corny!

Well this team is one that gets you thinking corny thoughts over the course of the season. Florida somehow found a way to lose to UCF and Jacksonville and yet won the SEC Championship. Chandler Parsons gets hurt in the opening moments against Tennessee? No problem, others will step up. And the list grew in Tampa this weekend.

Billy Donovan's team gets to the Sweet 16 on the broad shoulders and immeasurable heart of a 5-8 mighty mite Erving Walker and a dozen rebounds from unpredictable senior forward Alex Tyus. While most of the focus is deservedly on Walker; you can't overlook Tyus grabbing more rebounds (13) than the rest of the starting five combined (11). It was the perfect time for Tyus to put his inconsistent season behind him and come up big and that's exactly what he did.

While some teams need all five starters to come up big to beat quality opponents this one seems to just need a couple. That's the benefit of having five starters back and is a big part of why this team is two wins from the school's fifth trip to the NCAA Final Four.

Unique Regional Awaits --- Florida will face BYU in the Southeast Regional in New Orleans while Butler takes on Wisconsin in the other Sweet 16 matchup. Virtually every prognosticator had this regional as the one which had the greatest potential for upsets, but other than top seeded Pittsburgh the other highly seeded teams in the regional --- Florida (No. 2), BYU (No. 3) and Wisconsin (No. 4) --- all advanced as they were seeded to do.

Florida gets a rematch with BYU superstar Jimmer Fredette and will be interesting to see how the Gators go about business in this Thursday night (7:27 p.m.) contest. The BYU superstar poured in 37 against the Gators in the Cougars' 99-92 double overtime win in last year's NCAA first round match up. We'll get into that a little later in the week.


The first two rounds of the "Big Dance" have certainly been humbling to the powers that be. Richmond and VCU made it through two rounds as did San Diego State and BYU. So much for the superiority of the BCS conference teams.


Speaking of so-called superiority, how about a round of applause for the greatest conference in the history of the NCAA the Big East? The league got 11 teams into the field of 68, but after two rounds they have as many teams in the Sweet 16 (2 – Marquette & Connecticut) as the capital city of Virginia (Richmond, VCU). The Big Least was so bad in round two (2-5) the teams must have thought it was a football tournament.


1993. That's the last time FSU reached the Sweet 16. Leonard Hamilton's team dismantled Notre Dame in the late game on Sunday 71-57 putting three double-digit seeds in the San Antonio Regional. If you thought Kansas was going to have the edge in fan support before the tournament it's going to be off the charts now. The Jayhawks will play Richmond while FSU takes on VCU deep in the heart of Texas.


Not a single regional will have all four top seeds in attendance, but three of the four had three of the top four seeds win twice. The closest to following "the chalk" was the West with Duke (1), San Diego State (2), UConn (3) and Arizona (5) advancing. In the East Regional it's Ohio State (1), North Carolina (2), Kentucky (4) and Marquette (11).

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