In case you spent your Friday dancing and singing along to Rebecca Black’s insta-classic, here is what you missed in college basketball:
The Good: Florida Gators Advance to the SEC Semifinals
The top-seeded Florida Gators pulled away from the Missouri Tigers late in the second half of the SEC tournament quarterfinals, winning 72-49 behind strong showings from Scottie Wilbekin and Michael Frazier II (15 points each). After heading into halftime tied at 29, Florida outscored Mizzou 43-20 in the second half, creating separation in the final 9 minutes of regulation. The Gators defense, ranked 5th in the country in points allowed (58.2), forced 14 turnovers and held the Tigers to 1-13 from the long line. In all likelihood, the loss to Florida eliminates the Tigers from tournament consideration, capping off a disappointing season that saw Mizzou start strong but falter during conference play.
The Gators advance to the SEC semifinals on Saturday to face off against the fourth-seeded Tennessee Volunteers. Florida swept the season series, winning the home and home contests in convincing fashion. However, the Vols still have a lot on the line, as they remain a solid bubble team. A win would boost their resume and almost guarantee a spot in the Big Dance. The game is nationally televised on ABC at 1pm EST.
The Bad: Florida State Seminoles’ Tournament Hopes Are Squashed
Florida State needed a deep run in the ACC tournament in order to impress the Selection Committee and they started off with an exciting last second win over Maryland on Thursday night. Unfortunately for the Seminoles, that will go down as the high mark of the week, as FSU fell to the #1 seed Virginia Cavaliers 64-51 in the ACC quarterfinals. The Seminoles jumped out to an early lead against the Cavaliers, but with 11:21 remaining the in first half, the Hoos took the lead for good. Florida State couldn’t overcome their 15 turnovers, and Virginia was given ample second change opportunities, out rebounding the Seminoles 21-13 in the second half. The Noles have an outside shot of sneaking into the tournament, but it would seem as though they are destined for the NIT.
The Ugly: University of South Florida fires Stan Heath
Less than 48 hours following their loss to Rutgers in the AAC tournament, the University of South Florida Bulls announced the firing of head coach Stan Health. The loss to the Scarlet Knights marked the ninth straight loss for USF to end the season. Heath had four years remaining on his contract, and is due another $1.5M by the university. Heath led the Bulls to their best season in school history, finishing 22-14 while advancing to the Round of 32 in the NCAA tournament. Unfortunately for Stan, his team has won only 24 games since then, leaving him with an overall record of 97-130 across seven seasons. There are a few names that have surfaced for Heath’s replacement including Ben Howland, the former UCLA coach who has connections with new Bulls AD Mark Harlan. Among the other names floating around is Bruce Pearl, the former Tennessee coach who ran into some trouble with the NCAA prior to his dismissal. Either way, it should make for an interesting off-season for the Bulls.