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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

UGA-Florida Live Blog

Greetings from Gainesville, Fla., where it's a bit too chilly for jorts, the traffic is disproportionately heavy and the Perkins restaurants come highly recommended.

A few pregame notes...

-- I'm fairly certain that, between Macon and Valdosta, there is more of I-75 that is under construction than not.

-- I walked into the media workroom about an hour before tip off. There were at least 50 people in there. Only four are Georgia media.

-- We're still 15 minutes from the game's tip off and they've already shown highlights or made announcements about Florida's national championship in football three times.

-- No sign of Tim Tebow in the building. I can only assume he's currently saving a Romanian village from the threat of uncircumsized babies.

-- I'm considering picking a fight with the Gator mascot. I assume his name is Gary the Gator, or at least that's what I'm going to call him.

-- We were discussing this over at Butts Mehre yesterday, and I think I've finally found the one recruit who could save Dennis Felton's job and salvage Georgia basketball.

OK, more insightful observations to come after tip off...

FIRST HALF

-- Dustin Ware is getting another start. Trey Thompkins is also back in the starting lineup after not seeing the court for nearly nine minutes after tip off against Mississippi State. The surprise, however, is that also among the starters is Jeremy Price, who I'm predicting attempts at least two 3s in this game.

-- So the band here stinks... not a single Journey song yet. But I must admit, the pregame atmosphere is pretty impressive. I get the apathy for Georgia basketball among fans right now, but man, there's not much better than a great college hoops environment.

-- Over/under on combined minutes for Albert Jackson and Zac Swansey in this game is 22. I'm taking the under.

-- Where would you rank Dennis Felton's mustache among all college sports coaches? I mean, it's definitely nowhere near Dave Wanstache's at Pittsburgh, but it's pretty good.

-- Woodbury misses a jumper, Florida hits on the other end. I expect the Gators to jump out to a 10-12 point lead early, be cruising after the half, Georgia will battle back and lose by about 12, and Dennis Felton can talk about this really being a game to build on. He's like the Herman Edwards of college basketball. Herm has a decent mustache, too.

-- Chris Barnes in for Thompkins already, just 1:30 into the game. Can someone explain to me why - even if he's struggling -- Thompkins isn't in the game as much as possible?

-- OK, 20 seconds later, Thompkins is back. Makes perfect sense.

-- Thompkins hits a 3 to tie the game at 4 with 17:30 to play. He had been just 3-of-18 from 3 in his previous five games before that.

-- Dennis Felton is going nuts on the bench and is a few feet out onto the court. He darn near ran a pick on Florida's Erving Walker. Of course, Walker followed that by hitting a 3 to give Florida a 9-6 lead.

-- Another 3 for Thompkins. Perhaps a good sign that his shooting slump is over.

-- Albert Jackson makes his first appearance, as does fan favorite Ricky McPhee. I want McPhee to start referring to himself in the third person like Rickey Henderson does. "Ricky likes to shoot 3s. You can't stop Ricky. Ricky's gonna hurt you from way downtown."

-- Florida is showing celebrity lookalikes in the stands on the Jumbotron. There was Ed Asner, Steven Colbert, Joe Montana... but they failed to show Billy Donovan next to a photo of the angry gay neighbor from "American Beauty."

-- Chandler Parsons just reversed dunked to give Florida a 19-11 lead. Woody Harrelson would be jealous.

-- Speaking of Woody, two points: 1.) The final season of "Cheers" came out on DVD yesterday. I love "Cheers." 2.) I went to Blockbuster yesterday and saw at least three crappy movies I've never heard of under "New Releases" that starred Woody Harrelson. Seriously, check out the work he's been doing. By the way, I need to rent "Surfer, Dude." Harrelson and McConaughey? I smell Oscar.

-- I have never seen anyone worse at inbounding passes than Zac Swansey. I'd say it's his Achilles' heal, but that's free-throw shooting.

-- "Ricky just hit a 3. Ricky isn't going to let this game get out of hand. You cannot contain Ricky from outside."

-- "Ricky just hit another 3. That's right. Ricky be Ricky, baby." Georgia trails by 1, 22-21 with 6:28 to play.

-- Kicking violation on Florida. Sweep the leg, Calathes. Put him in a body bag!

-- "Ricky shouldn't drive with the basketball. Ricky should stick to shooting 3s. Ricky has learned his lesson."

-- Georgia had the ball with a chance to take the lead two minutes ago. An 8-0 Florida run, however, has the Gators up by nine. In Felton's defense, it really does seem like Georgia is always one or two plays from really putting something together but they never quite get over the hump. Of course, you could also blame Felton for that, too.

-- Tonight's Florida Gators "Who Am I" contest clues... When I left Florida, I was the leader in 12 different categories. I am now the starting forward for the Miami Heat. The answer... Tony Danza! (I know, I was surprised, too.)

-- Thompkins' eight points is his high since putting up 14 against Tennessee on Jan. 10. Terrance Woodbury, on the other hand, is still scoreless.

-- There are a handful of Florida fans sitting behind the Georgia bench shouting out really obvious basketball tips like "Get the rebound!" and "See the ball!" The obvious joke here would be to suggest Dennis Felton's response was, "Hey, that's a good idea! Why didn't I think of that?!?"

-- Florida is now on a 17-5 run and the Gators' press is really frustrating the Dawgs.

-- The halftime score: Florida 42, Georgia 30.

HALFTIME NOTES

-- I can't even begin to explain the absurdity of Florida's on-court Village People tribute at halftime other than to say it involved four plastic body doubles and a guy dressed as Indian. At first I thought it might be kind of racist. Then I realized it was simply offensive to everyone.

-- A free throw shooting contest between two fans resulted in a 3-2 win for the sort of nerdy guy over the really nerdy guy.

Some stat notes:

-- Florida is hitting 52 percent of its shots, including 43 percent from 3...

-- Alex Tyus has 12/5 so far...

-- Thompkins leads Georgia with 10 points...

-- Georgia has actually outrebounded Florida 17-14, which is good because the Gators are 11-0 when outrebounding their opponents this year...

-- Just three turnovers for Florida in the first half compared to nine by Georgia (down from 16 last game). UF holds a 10-2 advantage in points off TOs...

-- Total minutes for Jackson/Swansey: 5! Boy, the under was a very wise bet. Maybe I should have guessed 22 minutes of playing time the rest of the season.

-- I've already made references to "Teen Wolf," "Karate Kid," and "White Men Can't Jump." If I squeeze a "Goonies" joke into the second half, that's the live blog equivalent of hitting for the cycle.

SECOND HALF

-- Remember that first half against Mississippi State? Well Georgia appears to have saved that effort for the second half against Florida. Gators on an 8-2 run to start the half fed by a bevy of UGA turnovers.

-- So I wrote my game preview about Dustin Ware for today's paper. He has responded by looking awful tonight. He hasn't helped Georgia really push the ball like he did against Mississippi State, and his numbers in the first half: No points, two assists.

-- Fan favorite Ricky McPhee back in the game for Woodbury. This is bound to spark a run.

-- Yes, Florida killed Georgia in football this year. And yes, this game is looking like it could turn into a blowout in the Gators' favor. But there is one thing I am absolutely sure of: Georgia's male cheerleaders could kick the asses of Florida's male cheerleaders, no question about it. I'd let you know what would happen in a fight between the female cheerleaders, but I might drift off and forget to blog for a while after that...

-- Without the Georgia band (or "Redcoats" as I've been so enthusiastically instructed) here, I'm just going to have to bust out my iPod for some "Separate Ways."

-- Walker 3 gives Florida a 22-point lead, its biggest of the game. Corey Butler came back to hit a basket at the other end but took a hard foul and ... get this! ... Drazen Zlovaric came in to replace him, missing the free throw.

-- If I told you that, against Florida, Zlovaric and McPhee would both be playing meaningful minutes in the second half, you'd probably have guessed Florida would be winning by 23. You'd be right.

-- Florida may play to a packed house but they lack all of the following bits of fan ambiance I've come to know and love in Athens: Sweater guy standing and yelling for no reason, guy with baby on his lap shouting at the referees, half naked Viking guy, guy wearing Rocky shorts and no shirt, and Brett Jensen. It's just not the same without them.

-- Currently on the court for Georgia: Two sophomores, two freshmen and a walk-on. Florida takes a 66-39 lead with 10:44 to play.

-- Georgia calls a timeout to set up a play. They then pass the ball around to Swansey, who -- with the shot clock at :01 -- passes up the shot and dishes the ball. This reminds me of the time a certain South Georgia Wildcats head coach decided to spike the ball on fourth down to stop the clock.

-- Florida has outscored Georgia 26-9 so far this half. It really is the opposite of the Mississippi State game. But one thing I'm sure of... the Bulldogs can build on this game.

-- What are the odds that, with Florida leading by 30 in the final seconds, Billy Donavon calls back-to-back timeouts?

-- People next to me are talking about "Lost." I'm wondering why I thought covering this game would be better than watching that. I have to go back!!!!

-- It's time to bring back the Zlovaric-McPhee combo but add a dash of Swansey. It's Georgia's only chance.

-- Dustin Ware hits a pull-up jumper... his first make of the game. It pulls Georgia to within 29.

-- OK, quick question: Which number will be higher: total points Georgia scores in this game or the number of "Fire Felton" posts on Rivals' Dawgvent tonight?

-- Nick Calathes has a triple double, folks: 20 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists. Just to put that in perspective, here's Georgia's TEAM numbers: 47/30/10. That's right... Calathes has the same number of assists as Georgia's team.

-- Loose ball bounces into press row, and I now have as many rebounds as Zac Swansey tonight.

-- To make this fair, Florida should let Tim Tebow play power forward for Georgia. Plus, each time he makes a free throw, an angel gets its wings.

-- Georgia is on a 4-0 run and only trails by 26 now with a minute to play. Nice.

-- OK, that's going to do it for me. It's been a blast. Let's do this again... um... not soon. Final score: Florida 83, Georgia 57.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Ohhh nooo, we sux again!" from the Waterboy

Anonymous said...

You deserve a beer or three for enduring this. Maybe a dozen.

Watson said...

David, you forgot to add the old biker dude that always wears a bandanna to your list of Stegeman faithful. Just keeping you honest...

David said...

dont forget about the 500 or so visiting fans.

andy (student) said...

bits of fan ambiance I've come to know and love in Athens: Sweater guy standing and yelling for no reason,

--classic, i love his jumping jacks that he does...