Gator News and World Report (3/9/2006)

The Gator News and World Report for Thursday, March 9, 2006. Costas among the best; Chillin' with Chad; UF faces 5 questions entering the tournament; Former UF assistant has team in NCAAs; Can UF win it again?; Noah on the Coaches' All-SEC first team; No. 15 Gators get sweep; Field is wide open heading into SEC tourney; Noah's career arc rises off the charts; Every Florida starter receives laurel from the league; Dickey's homer propels Gators to victory and more....

Florida Gator Basketball

UF faces 5 questions entering the tournament
A year ago, they celebrated on the Georgia Dome floor with pieces of the nets taken as souvenirs and the pyramid-shaped trophy held high in the air.

Can UF win it again?
It may be in a building where last season ended, but it's still the tournament that brings back fond memories for many of the Florida basketball players. And certainly, for the first time, for its fans.

Noah on the Coaches' All-SEC first team
The coaches of the SEC realize the giant leap Florida forward Joakim Noah made between his freshman and sophomore years. On Wednesday, they formally recognized it by naming Noah to the first team on the Coaches' All-SEC team.

Field is wide open heading into SEC tourney
Florida coach Billy Donovan looks at the Southeastern Conference Tournament this weekend in Nashville, Tenn., and sees no team any worse off now than when the season started.

Noah's career arc rises off the charts
Throughout Billy Donovan's 10 seasons at Florida, he has seen many players make a huge jump in production and performance as sophomores.

Every Florida starter receives laurel from the league
ll five of Florida's starters were honored in some way on the coaches' All-SEC team, which was released Wednesday. Joakim Noah was a first-team selection, and Al Horford and Taurean Green were second-team selections. Corey Brewer was named the league's co-Defensive Player of the Year, and Lee Humphrey was named the league's Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Florida's Starting Five Honored By SEC
The University of Florida men's basketball team's entire starting five was honored Wednesday by SEC coaches.

SEC TOURNAMENT THINGS TO WATCH
Will Mississippi bother to show up? | After Rebels coach Rod Barnes was told last week he will not return next season, players can either win one more for their coach or start looking toward next season. For a team that finished the regular season 1-12, any attitude adjustment is a welcome one.

Coaches fear Kentucky
Poor Kentucky? Not quite. The Wildcats limp into the Southeastern Conference Tournament as the No. 3 seed from the East Division, meeting the West's No. 6 seed Mississippi (15-14) at 3:15 p.m. today and still trying to lock down an NCAA Tournament bid.

Get to the point: Efficiency rules SEC play
In the Southeastern Conference, 2006 may be the year of the point guard. A scan of the SEC standings and statistics yields an almost-inescapable conclusion: Teams with solid point guard play have fared well, and those without it not-so-well.

UF weighs SEC vs. NCAA effort
Forget about Florida's first-round opponent in the SEC tournament. Pity the poor poultry that may find itself near Joakim Noah's grandfather over the next few days.

Florida Gator Baseball

No. 15 Gators get sweep
For a team whose production at the plate has slowed to a trickle, Wednesday night was akin to an offensive explosion.

Dickey's homer propels Gators to victory
Gavin Dickey hit a home run to help Florida post a 3-1 win over visiting UNC-Greensboro on Wednesday. Florida (11-6) started strong with two runs in the first inning, followed by Dickey's homer in the fourth.

UF hangs on to beat UNC-Greensboro
Gavin Dickey hit a home run in Florida's 3-1 win over UNC-Greensboro Wednesday. Florida (11-6) started strong with two runs in the first inning, followed by Dickey's home run in the fourth. UNC-Greensboro (3-10) escaped the shutout when Adam Deleo grounded out while knocking in the team's only run of the game in the seventh.

Bob Costas

Costas among the best
Bob Costas is this generation's gold medal sportscaster. Do you agree? It's always a throaty subject for debate, but what my eyes see and my ears hear is a talent worthy of eternal recognition alongside microphone immortals like Red Barber, Curt Gowdy, Lindsey Nelson, Chris Schenkel, Vin Scully, Jim McKay, Mel Allen, Pat Summerall, Jack Buck, Ernie Harwell, Howard Cosell, Harry Caray and one of Bobby's contemporaries, Al Michaels.

Florida Gator Football

Chillin' with Chad
While his teammates were running 40-yard dashes, navigating shuttle runs and feeling the pressure performing under the gaze of the NFL scouts, wide receiver Chad Jackson was enjoying a nice, relaxing morning in The Swamp on Wednesday.

UF's Webb impressive in drills
Dee Webb let his feet do the talking, and they spoke quickly and loudly. The former Florida cornerback and his agent, Mike Huyghue, believe that's what NFL teams came to hear Wednesday at UF's annual Pro Day. Fourteen players, including Webb, took part in a variety of drills for the benefit of more than 100 scouts and assistant coaches.

Webb puts past behind him
A month later, Dee Webb has locked up his guns and, at least in public, locked away his thoughts about the incident that dented his reputation.

Jackson sits, Webb improves stock at UF Pro Day
One wanted to risk it, the other did not.Chad Jackson, the former UF receiver who was electronically clocked at 4.32 seconds in the 40-yard dash at February's NFL Scouting Combine, chose not to run again at Wednesday's UF Pro Day, held annually for scouts to gauge interest in prospects

Florida Gator John Pelphrey

Former UF assistant has team in NCAAs
John Pelphrey was fighting a cold, but he was feeling a lot of warmth in Mobile, Ala. The former Florida assistant coach guided his South Alabama team Tuesday night to the Sun Belt Conference tournament title. The 95-70 win over Western Kentucky gave the Jaguars an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament, their first since 1998

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