MUST READ, IN-DEPTH LOOK AT THE 2013 SEASON, PLAYERS & TEAM
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 softball and Florida baseball appear headed in the opposite direction. Two seasons ago it was softball struggling while baseball flourished but now the trajectories are reversed with the former at 21-0 and set to remain the No. 1 team in the country and the latter down to .500 at 6-6 and presumably out of the newest top 25 polls. Gators softball improved to 21-0 with five wins over the weekend - starting with a 2-1 extra-innings defeat of No. 2 Oregon to kick things off on Friday at the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic in Orlando, FL. Overall, UF has outscored opponents 147-14 since Feb. 9 and 174-26 total this season.
A pair of team Southeastern Conference Championships were won over the weekend with Florida women's track & field and men's swimming both bringing trophies back to Gainesville, FL. Women's track captured its eighth SEC Indoor Championship overall (third in the last five years) while the men's team finished as runner-up. The standout performance for Gators men's track came from senior Eddie Lovett who became the first athlete in conference history to win the 60-meter hurdles in four-straight indoor seasons. Also bringing home individual titles at the event were senior Cory McGee (3,000 meters), sophomore Arman Hall (200 meters), junior Ciarra Brewer (triple jump) and two foursomes of women in the four-by-four and distance medley relay.
The men's swimming team repeated as back-to-back SEC Champions, topping Auburn 1440.0-1280.5 for the trophy while their female counterparts finished in third place. Florida set three SEC records and seven school records at the meet while also bringing home 12 total individual SEC titles (nine for the men, three for the women). Leading the pack overall was senior Sebastien Rousseau, who was awarded the Commissioner's Trophy (most total points) and subsequently named SEC Male Swimmer of the Year. He won individual championships in the 200-yard freestyle, 200-yard individual medley and 200-yard butterfly.
Out of all the big-name players that have taken the court for the Chicago Bulls over the years, only three have registered five or more triple doubles. The first two are obvious - Michael Jordan (28) and Scottie Pippen (15). The other is former Gators center Joakim Noah. On Sunday, Noah had 10 assists in the first half and a career-high 14 in the game, the most earned by a center in a single contest since 1978. As it turns out, Noah actually leads the Bulls with 269 assists on the season and is the first center since David Robinson (381) in 1993-94 to claim that achievement. Noah added 13 points and 12 boards to his Sunday performance despite only hitting 4-of-10 shots from the field.
Rather than improve their team by trading power forward Udonis Haslem, who is posting career-low numbers as he enters the twilight of his career, the Miami Heat remained loyal to their native son and the team's all-time leading rebounder, keeping him off of the trading block and in the fold for what he hopes to eventually be his fourth championship. According to Dan LeBatard, Miami rejected a trade offer from Philadelphia for Evan Turner. The deal would have helped the Heat immediately and given the team more flexibility for next season. Instead, Miami rewarded the loyal player who turned down more than $10 million to stay in his hometown rather than sign elsewhere a few seasons ago.