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Who Didn't See This Coming?

AP Photo
After losing three of four games late in the season it looked as if the Gators were a tired, uninspired and generally apathetic team.  

Following a fairly impressive performance against Kentucky in the regular season finale it became evident that the Gators could once again be the same type of team that won 17 straight games earlier in the season, as well as the National Title in 2006.

Tonight it looked as if their performance in the finale definitely carried over to the SEC tournament, as Florida started their second-round matchup with Georgia on a 17-0 run.  At one point in the first half they led 33-8, and took a 21 point lead into the halftime locker room in their 74-57 victory over the Bulldogs.

Georgia was looking to get a big resume win and perhaps an outside shot at the NCAA tournament.  With this loss they will more than likely be heading to the NIT.

The biggest story of this game was the defensive performance of the Gators.  They hounded the Bulldogs all game, forcing a miserable shooting night that saw the Red and Black shoot 34%, including 19% in the first-half.  The Bulldogs also couldn't get anything going from the three point line, going 2-18 on the game.

The Bulldogs missed their first 14 shots in the game.  At the end of the first half they actually had more offensive rebounds (15) than points (14).  This was really a combination of bad offense by Georgia and an intense performance by the Florida defense.

Players that are considered dangerous for Georgia, Levi Stukes and Sundiata Gaines, combined for a total of eight points.

The Bulldogs outrebounded the Gators for the third time in as many games this season, 34-32. While this was a positive for Georgia, it was far outweighed by negatives.

This was a good win, showing the rest of the conference (and perhaps nation) that the Gators aren't the same team that was losing games two weeks ago.  Each game counts now and tonight the Gators proved that they are the team to beat in the conference, and will be a force to be reckoned with come NCAA tournament time.

The Gators will face either Ole Miss or LSU tomorrow in round three of the SEC tournament.

Update [2007-3-10 0:3:35 by Mark]:Ole Miss dominates LSU 80-60 and advances on to play the Gators tomorrow at 3:15. The Gators beat the Rebels 79-70 in their lone meeting this season -- if you remember the Gators seemed to be toying with the Rebels until a late surge made the game a bit closer.

Go Gators!