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].
Ole Miss Softball. Top-ranked Florida and Ole Miss have squared off a total of 46 times, but the series hasn’t been close. The Gators have owned the Rebels in softball with a 39-7 record, including 10 straight against their SEC foe. Florida will open SEC play this weekend, hosting Mississippi. With a three-game sweep, the Gators would run their win streak to 13 consecutive against the Rebs and set the record for their best start in program history.
Women’s Basketball Survives and Advances in SEC Tournament. Kayla Lewis played in her hometown of Duluth, Georgia and did not disappoint. Lewis put up 17 points and Jaterra Bonds led all scorers with 18 points as Florida (19-11) defeated Mississippi State (19-13), 71-67 in The Arena at Gwinnett Center. The Gators had a sizeable lead at halftime, but the Bulldogs came roaring back to keep the game close. Florida next faces 12th-ranked Kentucky, a team they swept during the regular season, in the Quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament Friday at 2:30 pm. Check out the highlights: (GatorZone)
UF Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees. Baseball’s Mike Stanley and football’s Keiwan Ratliff headline the eight inductees in the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame. The F Club and Gator Boosters will also induct volleyball’s Aury Cruz, softball’s Jenny Gladding, men’s tennis’ Justin O’Neal, women’s track & field’s Colleen Rosensteel, and soccer’s Sarah Yohe in the Gator Greats category. Harrison “Harry” Wilder will also be inducted as a Distinguished Letterwinner. I certainly remember Stanley in a Yankees uniform catching some pretty important games and Ratliff taking a couple punt returns to the house as a Gator and in the NFL. Congratulations to all eight of these worthy individuals! Click here for more details on the inductees. (GatorZone)
Patric Young Reflects on his Time at Florida. Patric Young is the epitome Florida basketball. He’s selfless, he hustles, plays good defense, and is always the first to celebrate with you following a good play or joke with you after a bad one. He’s the perfect ambassador for Florida basketball with a smile always on his face and his hustle plays. Richard Johnson wrote about Patric and how he put his team before himself and that has made he and the Gators great. (Richard Johnson, GatorCountry)
Will Yeguete is Florida Basketball Personified. In another tribute to Florida’s outstanding senior class, Adam Silverstein breaks down why Will Yeguete is the heart and soul of the Gators. Yeguete does the dirty work no other player wants to do and likes it. Plus, he’s always seen with a smile on his face and does an incredible amount of charity work. Yeguete’s overcome foot and knee problems that sidelined him for the better part of two seasons. But his ability to stay on the court this year and his hustle is a big reason Florida’s number one. (Adam Silverstein, Only Gators)
Senior Gymnast Alaina Johnson’s Perserverance Pays Off. Another Florida athlete competing at a high level after suffering a debilitating injury is senior gymnast Alaina Johnson. It’s senior night Friday night in the O’Dome and Johnson, along with Mackenzie Caquatto and Lauren Rose will be honored. Johnson has overcome a stress reaction and fracture in her lower back, diagnosed in 2012, to come back and contribute to the reigning national champion gymnastics squad. Johnson’s a 10-time All-American who is thriving in her final season. (Jim Harvin, GatorSports)
Jeff Driskel Can Become an Elite QB. Spring practice starts March 19th, but Florida football is always on the minds of Gators fans. Quarterback Jeff Driskel had a rough outing in 2013 before breaking his leg against Tennessee. But there are signs he could become an top tier QB à la Johnny Manziel from his 2012 campaign when he led the Gators to a 11-2 record and nearly playing for a national championship. With more QB depth on the 2014 edition of the football team with Will Grier and Treon Harris, Randy Chambers lays out a plan for Driskel to become an elite QB. (Randy Chambers, Bleacher Report)
Weekend Schedule. Eight teams are in action this weekend. Here’s the schedule: (GatorZone)
12:00pm Women’s Basketball @ TBA (if advance) SEC Tournament Semifinals
12:00pm Men’s Basketball vs.Kentucky
1:00pm Women’s Tennis @ South Carolina
1:00pm Lacrosse vs. Michigan
2:00pm Softball vs. Ole Miss
3:00pm Baseball vs. Connecticut
We’ll, of course, have news and results from all the action this weekend.