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March Madness

Florida, Florida State on the winning end of baseball’s June Madness

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The NCAA College Baseball Tournament is not likely to come anywhere near the broad popularity enjoyed by the basketball tournament known as March Madness. At the same time, referring to this year’s baseball extravaganza as June Madness would not be overstating what has taken place so far. Both Florida and Florida State have provided significant contributions to this year’s mayhem, which saw nearly half of the 16 seeded teams and regional hosts go down to defeat. Number two national seed…

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Chris Chiozza, Christian Laettner and the forgotten supporting actors

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Christian Laettner, meet Chris Chiozza. Your contributions to March Madness lore may be 25 years apart, but the memories will go on for far longer. Laettner, who was already well-known, made “The Shot,” in 1992 that kept Duke’s hopes alive for a repeat championship, which they won. Chiozza, a popular figure on the Florida campus, but relatively unknown elsewhere, sent the Gators to the Elite 8 on Friday with “The Shot 2.” One should be careful before making comparisons between…

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Despite loss to Wildcats, Gators still can win SEC Tournament

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Although the Florida Gators lost to the Kentucky Wildcats in Lexington on Saturday, they still have a good opportunity to gain the automatic NCAA Tournament bid in two weeks. Kentucky overcame a 12-point first half deficit to beat Florida, 76-66, snapping the Gators’ nine-game winning streak. Florida’s defense is often good enough to get them a victory when they shoot poorly, but not on Saturday. Very few come into Rupp Arena and leave with a win, especially those who can…

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Gators playing the best basketball in the state right now

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This week’s Associated Press Top 25 poll conveys a basic truth for basketball in the state of Florida. The Florida Gators are playing better as a team than the more talented Florida State Seminoles. Following a tougher-than-expected challenge at home from Texas A&M, which Florida won 71-62, the Gators moved up two spots to No. 15. The Gators (20-5) also won on the road at Georgia during the week. Amazingly, Florida State fell only three positions following a disastrous performance…

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Gators becoming state’s second basketball powerhouse

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For the past month, talk of college basketball in the Sunshine State has been dominated by the Florida State Seminoles. Over the past two weeks, the Florida Gators have emphatically joined the conversation. Saturday’s convincing 88-66 win over No. 8 Kentucky will lift a few eyebrows just a few weeks before March Madness begins. It is no exaggeration to say the Gators, ranked at No. 24 for now, overwhelmed the Wildcats in ways many thought not possible. Kentucky came into…

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Syracuse shocks Virginia with huge second half comeback

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Sunday’s Midwest Regional final was one of those games that define March Madness. Just when it looks like one team is cruising to the Final Four, the other makes a miraculous comeback. The Syracuse Orange rode a 29-8 run over the final 9:33 to upset ACC foe Virginia, 68-62 in Chicago to steal the Final Four berth. The tenth-seeded Orange played a nearly flawless second half to overhaul the top-seeded Cavaliers and send them home wondering what happened. Syracuse did…

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Indiana leads Kentucky; Little Rock ready

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The Latest on the third full day of the men’s NCAA Tournament, including games being played in Raleigh, North Carolina; Providence, Rhode Island; Des Moines, Iowa; and Denver (All times EDT): • • • 6:25 p.m. Indiana has a 33-32 lead over Kentucky at halftime in this much-anticipated second-round matchup in the East Region. The catalyst for the Hoosiers has been the reserves. Indiana’s five starters combined to shoot 6 for 18 from the floor, including 0 for 6 from 3-point range…

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