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Devin Robinson, others step up to help Gators avoid upset

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Listening to the “experts,” the Florida Gators sounded like underdogs to East Tennessee State heading into Thursday’s NCAA Tournament first round game at the Amway Center in Orlando. Despite being a 10-point favorite with odds makers, several pundits had the fourth-seeded Gators on “upset alert” against the 13th seed Buccaneers. To be sure, the pressure is on the higher seed in games like these. Double-digit seeds have low expectations. Since 1985, 13th seeds have beaten fourth seeds 26 times. With…

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CBS experts say Florida, Florida State ripe for first-round upsets in NCAA Tournament

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When the NCAA Tournament pairings were announced on Sunday, the CBS crew of Greg Gumbel, Clark Kellogg and Seth Davis analyzed the 68 teams and picked an upset or two. Davis, as usual, was the most outspoken, calling out two teams of interest to Florida viewers. Looking toward Thursday’s games in Orlando, Davis emphatically predicted that 14-seed Florida Gulf Coast will knock Florida State out of the West region. In one of the earlier games to be played at the…

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Orlando hosts Florida-flavored NCAA Tournament first round

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For NCAA Tournament organizers, their desire to fill seats at the eight first and second round sites, Orlando should be gold for them. With the Florida Gators, Florida State Seminoles and Florida Gulf Coast Eagles coming to the Amway Center in Orlando on Thursday, fans of all three teams will not have far to travel. Florida’s other NCAA Tournament is Miami. The eighth-seeded Hurricanes will open play on Friday in Tulsa against the ninth-seeded Michigan State Spartans. The team traveling…

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Florida, Florida State falling in final day “Bracketology”

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When the field of 68 NCAA tournament teams is announced on Sunday there is certain to be a surprise and a snub or two. What does the “Bracketology,” say about which bubble teams will make it and who will remain at home? We know the names of the four Florida teams that will be called, but where will they go to open the tournament and what seed will they receive? If Joe Lunardi, the foremost expert in tournament projections is…

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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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President Trump declines ESPN invite to fill out NCAA bracket on-air

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President Donald Trump won’t be filling out an NCAA Tournament bracket on ESPN this March, unlike his predecessor, Barack Obama. ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz says the network expressed its “interest to the White House in continuing the presidential bracket. They have respectfully declined.” Obama, a basketball fan, would join the network on-camera and make his March Madness picks for both the men’s and women’s brackets. Last year, he nailed a number of upsets — most notably Hawaii knocking off fourth-seeded…

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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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