The strength of Florida's argument is a solid R.P.I. in the 40's and an incredibly difficult schedule ranked as high as # 3 in the nation. Considering the NCAA field has 64 teams and the N-I-T takes another 32, it seems almost impossible that UF would not get one of the 96 post-season invitations.
On the downside, Florida lost nine of its last eleven game including the final four in a row. Additionally, the Gators would likely be without the team's best player, forward Bernice Mosby, and the folks at the N-I-T might consider what Florida's record might have been without Mosby's contributions. The junior averaged 15.5 points and 8.6 rebounds in 25 games.
I have heard from some that feel the N-I-T isn't worth the trouble and I think that's a bunch of nonsense. The N-I-T exists to give opportunities to teams that missed out on the big tournament, and possibly provide some momentum for the season to come. With Florida perhaps facing the 2005-06 campaign without the top three scorers from this year (Mosby, and seniors Tamia Williams 11.9 and Tashia Morehead 9.3) a chance to play some more has to be a positive.
Lady Gator Golf Needed A Mulligan
The Lady Gator Golf team entered last week's SunTrust Lady Gator Invitational seeking its first win of the season. Not an unrealistic expectation considering Florida had finished fourth and third in their previous two events and had the advantage of playing at home.
Florida suffered through a most difficult weekend and finished sixth in its own event. Florida has one more tournament before SEC's the middle of next month. Plenty of time to get back on track.
Winless Road Trip A Good Thing?
Normally that would be an absurd notion, but it is not in the case of the Florida Gymnastics Team. Rhonda Faehn took her sixth ranked squad west for a couple of very tough competitions, and while the Gators did not post a win; it was a very good weekend.
First the Gators finished second in a quad meet (four teams) at the University of Utah. With more than 11-thousand fans on hand, the Gators posted a solid team score of 196.45. Two days later the "glitter girls" took on two-time defending national champion UCLA. While the Bruins posted the best score in the nation this year for the win, Florida left L-A heads held high after scoring a 196.65, the highest road score of the year.
Florida gets a much-deserved weekend off before the final regular season home meet of the year March 18th against Pittsburgh and Yale.
And if you feel like making a really long day of it on April 9th, you can take in the Orange and Blue football game at one o'clock and stay for the gymnastics team hosting the NCAA Regional that night.
Gator Softball Adding Up The Wins
After winning four of five games in Tampa this weekend, the Florida Softball Team is now 17-and-6 on the year with SEC play just around the corner. Karen Johns will challenge her team with their second road trip to California this season. Florida will face four teams, three of them west coast squads in the two-day event.
Florida's offense has to be a pleasant surprise. In a sport where scoring runs can be tougher than a four-dollar steak, the Gators are averaging almost five runs a game. Leading the Florida bat brigade are Kristen Butler (.356) Shelly Stevens (.348) and Lindsey Cameron (.342).
A major reason the runs are coming more quickly has been Florida's aggressiveness on the base paths. The Gators have stolen 62 bases – almost three per game – while being caught just 12 times. Stacie Pestrak leads the way with a perfect 14-for-14.
Women's Track Looks To Overpower Competition
Led by power throw superstar Candice Scott the Gator women's Indoor Track squad goes after a national title this weekend. Florida is bringing a rather small contingent to the competition in Fayetteville Arkansas, but makes up for it with multiple strong candidates for individual titles.
Scott is favored to repeat as National champion in the weight throw while Rachel Longfors should also score. Scott and Liz Wanless have to be title contenders in the shot put as well.
Sophomore Tiandra Ponteen is ranked number one in the 400 meters and gives Florida another legit contender there. Florida will also have Krystle Moss in the high jump and a team in the 4 X 400 relay.
The Gators enter NCAA's ranked #4 in the country despite a disappointing forth place finish at SEC Indoors. They will try and improve on last year's runner-up finish at the Indoor meet.