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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 guards Kenny Boynton and Mike Rosario are currently participating in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, an annual event that provides additional exposure to draft-eligible seniors who are slated to be either second-round picks or undrafted free agents. Through the first two days of competition, Boynton has played in two games and looked quite solid in one of them; Rosario, on the other hand, put together an incredibly poor showing in his one opportunity. Boynton came off the bench in his team's first game, going just 2-of-6 (1-of-4 from three) for seven points but dished six assists and grabbed seven boards in 20 minutes. He followed up that performance with a very solid one on Thursday as he went 3-for-4 (2-for-2 from downtown) for 13 points with five dimes and four rebounds while starting and playing 27 minutes. Rosario simply could not find the bottom of the net. Also earning the start, he went just 2-for-10 for four points (no threes) with two assists, four boards and three turnovers in 29 minutes. Boynton does not play again until Saturday, but Rosario will be suiting up on Friday for his second game.
Attempting to put together a good showing in the Masters are two Florida golfers - Brian Gay and current senior T.J. Vogel. Gay finished at Even par in Thursday's first round while Vogel posted a +5 (77) with three birdies, six bogeys and a double bogey. "I just had a good time," Vogel said after his round. "I just really tried to enjoy my round, no matter how I played. I got off to kind of an interesting start. I hit a lot of bad drives, but I settled down out there on the back [nine] and hit some good shots coming in." Vogel qualified by winning a U.S. Amateur event but is unlikely to advance to the weekend unless he puts together a stunning round on Friday. Nevertheless, that remains his goal. "I wanted to make the cut. I feel like I just need to get off to a better start [Friday], hit some fairways, and get comfortable. I think I'm right there. First round at the Masters, 77 is not that bad. I mean, I didn't hit it great, but I got it around and made some things happen."
The SportsBusiness Journal on Friday reported that the Southeastern Conference and ESPN "will make a formal announcement" on the standalone SEC Network next Tuesday in Atlanta, GA. According to the SBJ, the network will launch in August 2014 with national distribution. ESPN has purchased all non-CBS SEC football inventory and is in the process of reacquiring syndication rights for other SEC games that the company previously sold to Comcast and FOX for syndication. An ESPN channel (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU) or the SEC Network will carry every single SEC football game that is not chosen by CBS for its weekly package. In other words, no more third-tier broadcasts or pay-per-view games. The networks will also carry a vast majority - if not all - SEC contests in other sports. More good news to come out of the deal is that SEC has reacquired all of the digital rights it had previously sold to XOS Digital. The conference will likely sell those to ESPN as well.
On quite a roll right now for the Denver Nuggets is forward Corey Brewer, who has now scored 20+ points in three-straight games for just the second time in his five-year NBA career. Brewer posted 23 points in a victory over Dallas last Thursday, 22 points in a win Saturday against Houston and 28 points (one short of his career-high) to fuel his team to a victory against San Antonio on Wednesday. With starter Danilo Gallinari out (torn ACL), Brewer is being counted on to step up and play major minutes for Denver (35, 29, 34, respectively in the last three games). His career has had a resurgence in Denver under head coach George Karl and Brewer will look to put together another 20-point on Friday at 8:30 p.m. in a road contest against Dallas.
Rick Scott, Governor of the state of Florida, will recognize former Gators quarterback Tim Tebow as a "Great Floridian" on Friday at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. Tebow, who will be holding his annual golf tournament at the course this weekend, will be recognized for being a citizen who has made outstanding achievements and "significant contributions to the progress and welfare of Florida." Most honorees are politicians, veterans, business leaders, philanthropists and Supreme Court Justices, meaning Tebow will join 66 other prominent Floridians including well-known names like head coach Bobby Bowden, Governor Jeb Bush and inventor Thomas Edison as well as long-time UF donors Stephen C. O'Connell and Ben Hill Griffin, Jr.
Some of the Gators' more prominent sports (read: football, basketball) may be done with for the 2012-13 season but there is plenty going on in Florida athletics over the weekend.
Baseball (17-18, 6-7 SEC) is looking to win a big series at home against No. 11 South Carolina and got a leg up on their SEC East rivals with a 3-2 victory on Friday. The teams are set to square off again on Friday at 7:30 p.m. (CSS) with the series finale coming on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. (ESPN2).
No. 3 softball (39-4, 12-3 SEC) opens up its weekend series at Kentucky on Friday as it looks to jump-start a new winning streak after having the last one snapped on Sunday. Saturday's showdown is the only one airing live on television as it is set for 1 p.m. on ESPNU.
Similarly, No. 3 lacrosse (14-1, 2-1 ALC) had its undefeated streak snapped on March 30 and is looking to close out its regular season with three-straight victories. The Gators next face Vanderbilt on the road Sunday at 2 p.m.
No. 2 women's tennis (17-2, 10-1 SEC) and No. 17 men's tennis (12-9, 5-5 SEC) will each compete in a pair of matches over the weekend, taking on the same exact opponents. The women will be on the road while the men will be at home in Gainesville, FL. Both squads will take on Kentucky on Friday and Vanderbilt on Saturday.