Ack's Insights - 3/6/03

Football, basketball and baseball notes - plus some football tidbits about off-season workouts and spring practice.

Baseball Notes

The Gators have had a difficult time with the weather this season.  They cannot seem to get into a rhythm with their pitching rotation.  Conner Falkenbach, who is normally the game one Friday night starter, had his start versus Siena moved to Monday and then it was rained out.  He tweaked his knee vesus Hofstra and needed the extra time off.  He may start game one against the ‘Noles in Tallahassee on Friday.  UF plays Gardner Webb in a mid-week game.  Jamie Goldfarb could be back this weekend in a reliever role.  Expect him to challenge for one of the starting positions when he is back healthy  .FSU is ranked #1 in one poll and is off to a blazing start at 14-1.  Keep an eye on the Seminole pitching staff as it may be Mike Martin's best in recent years.  The ERA for the staff so far is 2.14.  They also throw lefty, lefty, righty at you in a three game set.  The first two games are in Tallahassee and Sunday's game is in Gainesville. During Florida's current nine game winning streak they have outscored opponents 118-41.  One thing Pat McMahon would like to see this weekend is more production in the late innings between the seventh and ninth.

Basketball Notes

With the tough loss at Georgia, I think UF is solid for a #2 seed now.  They could still get a #1 if they beat Kentucky and win two games in the SEC Tournament.  I think the Oklahoma/Texas winner, along with Kansas, are the main competitors.  David Lee needs to duplicate the performance of Tuesday night against Georgia still if UF is going to knock off Kentucky.  Christian Drejer will play a big role because of his passing ability to the post and they way he runs the high pick and roll.  Florida's ball movement was great versus Georgia, they just missed good open looks in the second half, yet still shot 48%.  The key was the defense gave up 16 points in the last 4:33 after UF took a 71-66 lead.  One topic of discussion has been the end of the game on Tuesday.  Coach Donovan likes to let his team play and it has worked out great  this season.  I do however think if he had to do it over again he would have called a timeout.  Personnel wise, his best playmaker with the ball in his hands, Anthony Roberson, was on the bench and it cost them in their offense.  I do think UF outplayed Georgia and it just was not meant to be. 

Jim Harrick however, may be done before the SEC Tournament.  If your assistant was let go for a money order, the head coach is not too far behind.  Ask Eddie Sutton and Hal Mumme. 

UF's game versus Kentucky is the last for three seniors- Justin Hamilton, Matt Bonner and Brett Nelson.  They are the winningest in school history and are going to be honored on Saturday.  But, Roberson, Drejer and Walsh must perform if the Gators are to break the Wildcat streak.  Florida is 15-0 at home this year and have lost three in a row to Tubby Smith and the Wildcats.

In New Orleans, Florida will play Friday at 3:15 versus Vandy or the #3 in the West.  I think it will be LSU.  They have Alabama at home Saturday and look to get to 8-8 in the conference.  Mississippi State and Auburn will finish 1-2 in the West.  As for the big Dance, UF could see Kentucky in the final four if one goes to the South and the other to the East.  The South Sweet 16 is in the Alamo Dome in San Antonio.  The East is in the Pepsi Arena in Albany, New York.

Football Notes

With Spring Football nearly two weeks away some others top programs have cranked it up or will be.  UF will now start on March the 18th and Ron Zook will meet with the media March 8th.

Fox Sports has their top 150 players listed and only one Gator, Keiwan Ratliff, is listed at number 84.  Other players on Florida's schedule listed are as follows:

#13 Shawn Andrews (OT Arkansas) - too high for a run blocking tackle but he is good

#14 Eli Manning (QB Mississippi) - until he wins nine games in a season he is just a good player on an average team

#17 Kellen Winslow (TE Miami) - underrated, on of the best players in college football

#21 David Pollack (DE Georgia) - we will see how well he does without Jonathan Sullvan in the middle

#33 DJ Williams (LB Miami) - great athlete but not better than Vilma

#35 Jonathan Vilma (LB Miami) - underrated and underappreciated

#45 Casey Clausen (QB Tennessee) - wasn

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