Welcome to Bait & Bits, a series on Hail Florida Hail that will feature one “bait” about an opposing school and some bits about the Gators. Have any links that you want on Bait & Bits? Tweet it at us @HailFloridaHail or @BrettKaplan13 or email it to us at [email protected].
Alabama Crimson Tide Gymnastics. Florida’s gymnastics squad, ranked third in the nation, will head to Alabama to face the No. 4 Crimson Tide. This meet marks the fourth time this season the Gators have faced a top-4 team. Florida has gone 3-0 previously against top opponents, beating No. 4 UCLA in the opening meet, No.1 Oklahoma on January 31st, and No. 4 LSU last Friday (All rankings reflect rankings when the meet took place). Florida and Alabama have won the past three national championships, with the Gators taking the 2013 title, and the Tide winning it all in 2012 and 2011. Florida has six 10.0s on the season and a streak of five straight weeks with a perfect score. The meet begins at 8:30 pm.
Kasey Hill Cleared to Play. Thursday was a pretty big night for Florida’s men’s basketball team. They won the SEC regular season championship outright with Kentucky’s loss and backup freshman point guard Kasey Hill was cleared to practice and play in Saturday’s game versus LSU. Hill has provided some valuable minutes for the Gators during their streaks. He’s opened up Scottie Wilbekin to have more scoring opportunities with his speed and skills. Florida’s had three close wins in which they struggled to score points with Hill out of the lineup because of a strained groin. Hill was a McDonald’s All-American and a five-star recruit coming out of high school. He’s averaging 5.6 points and 3.1 assists in just under 24 minutes per game.
Women’s Basketball Picks Up Big Win at Vandy. Florida picked up a huge win for their NCAA Tournament hopes Thursday night when they beat Vanderbilt 73-68 at Memorial Gymnasium, where the men’s team escaped just two nights earlier. Jaterra Bonds scored 18 points and had a career-high 9 assists to lead the Gators. Florida now sits alone in fifth place in the SEC with a 8-7 conference record and an 18-10 record overall. They have one regular season game remaining when they host 17th-ranked Texas A&M Sunday at 1 pm.
Brittany Harrell Sets a School-Record at SEC Indoor Championships. The 2014 SEC Indoor Championships began Thursday with the pentathlon and the Gators didn’t disappoint. Brittany Harrell won the 800m portion with a career-best 2:16.23 on her way to a school record 4,137. Harrell finished fourth overall and teammate Lorraine Graham placed 13th. Florida’s women’s team sits in third place after the first day.
Today’s Schedule. It’s another busy Friday for Gators sports. Florida continues to compete at the SEC Indoor Championships all day Friday, while top-ranked softball competes in the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic in Orlando, playing Oregon at 3:30 pm. The No. 5 women’s tennis team hosts No. 9 Texas A&M at 5 pm, while the No. 22 men’s team goes to No. 13 Texas A&M at 6 pm to open SEC play. No. 23 baseball hosts Illinois at 7 pm and the third-ranked gymnastics team travels to No. 4 Alabama at 8:30. It’s interesting to note that all the Florida teams in action today are ranked in their respective top-25 polls.