Gator News And World Report (3/11/2005)

The Gator News and World Report for Friday, March 11, 2005. Time for Gators to finally win SEC tourney ; Shining moment; Poole went from injury-plagued start to Living Legend; Gators liking their new Ball; Bench support for UF; Losing Has Advantages, But Don't Tell Gators; UF touts winning, not fatigue; Adaptable Horford alters UF's mind-set; Teams are different but goals the same; Track teams focused on NCAAs and more...

Florida Gator Basketball

Time for Gators to finally win SEC tourney
Atlanta. Isn't it about time? Time to cut down the nets? Time to do what has never been done? Time to end years of frustration? It's time for Florida. The SEC Tournament started Thursday in the Georgia Dome and the Gators cruised into town late in the afternoon as one of the teams that has a chance to win the whole thing.

Shining moment
The tape is in a drawer in his bedroom in Maryville, Tenn., along with nine or 10 others that chronicled last season.

Florida faces Mississippi State
Mississippi State faces Florida today with the confidence of knowing that it has already beaten the Gators once this season.

Tourney tidbits
Sometimes the SEC Tournament is about surprising stars like Lee Humphrey a year ago for Florida. But usually, it's the best players in the conference who have the biggest games. The top five individual games in SEC Tournament history:

Bench support for UF
Gators open SEC Tournament play today; reserves may determine length of stay.

Mississippi State hobbles into matchup against UF
Mississippi State fought through injuries to its two best players earlier this season. Now the Bulldogs have to deal with injuries to two more players when they play Florida today.

SEC TOURNAMENT NOTEBOOK
If South Carolina doesn't make the NIT, the Gamecocks can claim they may have literally come up inches short.

Losing Has Advantages, But Don't Tell Gators
When Lee Humphrey's overtime buzzer-beater sailed through the net in the wee hours of March 13, 2004, his University of Florida teammates lined up to embrace him for keeping them alive in the SEC Tournament. Vanquished Alabama players trudged off the court.

UF touts winning, not fatigue
The thought has surfaced plenty of times, spurred on by that loud little devil sitting on the shoulder of college basketball's finest coaches.

Adaptable Horford alters UF's mind-set
Al Horford roamed NBA locker rooms when he was 3 years old and learned Portuguese at 6 while living in Brazil. A few years later, he saw the Eiffel Tower when summering in Paris.

Bulldogs, Rebs have day to long remember
Thursday should have been proclaimed Mississippi Day at the Southeastern Conference Tournament. So, where's Gov. Barbour when you need him?

Teams are different but goals the same
The teams that face each other this afternoon around 2:15 will sport significant differences from the ones that met in Starkville on Feb. 1.

NCAA shocker turns Gators very defensive
When Florida's season ended with an upset loss to Manhattan in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last season, the coaching staff knew it had to take a serious look at everything it was doing.

Lee looks to finish Gator career with a bang
Gary Lee made his final walk up the steps at the O'Connell Center last Sunday with tears in his eyes. With each step, he was stopped and hugged or given a pat on the back. One Florida basketball fan wrapped her arms around the father of Gators senior forward David Lee and said softly, "Thank you for everything."

Florida Gator Stacey Poole

Poole went from injury-plagued start to Living Legend
At the Wednesday night Champions' Dinner on the eve of the SEC Basketball Tournament, Stacey Poole looked around at the 11 men who were part of his class.

Florida Gator Baseball

Gators liking their new Ball
Bryan Ball hasn't learned any new pitches. He hasn't adjusted his mechanics. In fact, the Gators junior right-hander has a simple answer for why he has quickly emerged as Florida's most dependable starter early in the season.

Loss energizes UF against Spartans
In case the baseball players forgot what happened on Wednesday night, they got a reminder at practice yesterday.

Florida Gator Notebook

Florida's weekend sports
WHO: No. 2 Florida at No. 6 Vanderbilt WHEN: Today, 3:30 p.m. WHERE: Nashville, Tenn.

Florida Gator Track & Field

Track teams focused on NCAAs
The men's and women's track and field teams will wrap up the season at the NCAA Indoor Championships, which begin today in Fayetteville, Ark. The men, ranked second by trackwire.com, are looking for their sixth top-10 finish in 10 years, and the women are trying to earn their third consecutive top-five finish.

Florida Lady Gator Basketball

Pendleton basketball star
Carolyn Peck's pipeline from Manatee County to Gainesville continues to bring top-flight talent to the Florida Gators women's basketball program.

Florida Gator Tennis

Tennis takes on pair of SEC opponents
In its second week of Southeastern Conference play, the UF men's tennis team hosts two teams in hopes of running its league record to 4-0.

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