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March 11, 2013
In order to make sure Florida Gators-related news stories don't fall through the cracks, once or twice a week Orange & Blue News will keep you up-to-date with the latest goings on in the world of University of Florida athletics.
Gators basketball did not conclude the regular season the way they wanted, but Florida still holds the No. 1 seed in the upcoming 2013 SEC Tournament, which is set to begin on Wednesday, March 13. UF will not play until the third day of the event as the bottom four seeds (11-14) are the only ones that square off in the first round and the Gators earned a bye as a top-four seed. Florida will compete in the quarterfinals on Friday, March 15 at 1 p.m. (ESPNU) against either eight-seed Georgia or nine-seed LSU, teams which the Gators are a combined 3-0 against this season. Things can theoretically get more difficult for Florida if it reaches semifinal action and faces either four-seed Alabama (W 64-52) or five-seed Tennessee (L 58-64), one of the four teams to hand UF a conference loss this season. The bottom half of the bracket features two-seed Kentucky, three-seed Ole Miss and six-seed Missouri among the standout teams.
As the weekend progressed so did the Percy Harvin saga. In a piece written late in the week, Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports noted that Harvin wants to be paid like a top-tier receiver (i.e. Calvin Johnson, $16 million per season) as opposed to the $11-million annual salary that second-tier receivers like Vincent Jackson and Mike Wallace will be earning in 2013. Cole also reported that Harvin "threatened to walk out on the team last offseason after hearing that former teammate Aaron Hernandez received a contract extension after only two years" in the league. On Saturday, columnist Sid Hartman of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune added that Harvin has informed the Minnesota Vikings that he "wants to be traded" and does not want to play for the franchise any longer. Though plenty of mystery remains around Harvin's future, one thing that can be said for sure is that he is certainly not doing anything to help his career by continuing to be an incredibly difficult - yet still supremely talented - player.
The NFL news cycle, at least as it concerns cornerbacks, has revolved around the New York Jets' Darrelle Revis and Seattle Seahawks' Richard Sherman as of late, but Joe Haden made sure that his name is in the conversation of the league's top cornerbacks when he appeared on Pro Football Talk on Friday. Haden, the Cleveland Browns' star, admitted that he is not the league's best cornerback but said unabashedly that he is the No. 2 guy going today. "I would say honestly - and this is just me being real 100 percent - I would say Darrelle Revis [is the best]," he said. "I studied tape on guys and I try to look and see what I can do to get my game to be on their levels [and] I feel like I'm honestly the number two cornerback in the league, that's just my opinion personally." That may or may not rub Sherman - who is easily agitated - the wrong way, but Haden should certainly be in the talk whether it is he or Sherman who is truly "second-best" to Revis. Of course, Sherman also seems to think he's the best cornerback that's ever lived.
On Tuesday, the majority of Florida's NFL Draft-eligible players will be on the field in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium for Pro Scout Day (open to the public). However, defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd will not be seen in The Swamp that day as he has decided to work out on his own and do so nearly two weeks later on March 22. Floyd apparently rolled his ankle while competing at the NFL Scouting Combine and wants to ensure that he is 100 percent before performing again for scouts. Considering there is a possibility that he is to become the highest-drafted former Gators player in school history, Floyd and his agent are likely wise to be making that decision. Should Floyd go No. 3 overall to Oakland, he would match Gerard Warren as Florida's highest-drafted player; of course, if he goes No. 1 to Kansas City, he would become the Gators' first-ever No. 1 overall pick in either football or basketball.
Repeating four-straight times was the goal for Florida men's track & field at the NCAA Indoor Championships, but the Gators instead finished second over the weekend, 15 points behind new champion Arkansas. Florida did, however, receive a sterling performance from junior Eddie Lovett, who set a new meet record in the men's 60-meter hurdles. Lovett won the individual title with a school record time of 7.50 seconds, a time that is the fourth-best in NCAA history. It was the only individual championship won on the men's or women's side over the weekend.
Speaking in Naples, FL over the weekend, Tim Tebow broke the record for "the largest audience in the 30-year history of the Naples Town Hall Distinguished Speaker Series at the Ritz Carlton Resort," according to the MarcoEagle. More than 1,200 people attended Tebow's event, which occurred on Sunday, the second day Tebow spent in Naples. Tebow apparently went to lunch with former Gators head coach Urban Meyer on Saturday, which may have been when Meyer received the phone call from a recruit and subsequently handed Tebow the phone to speak to the young man. In other words, it may have actually been a coincidence and not a planned occurrence?or perhaps Meyer is just that devious to time it correctly.