Florida Gators Recruiting: Cornerback Jalen Tabor Flips from Arizona

If you want to shock the world, one way to do so is to switch your commitment at the last moment when few saw it coming. Five-star cornerback Jalen Tabor may have done just that, switching his commitment from Arizona to Florida with the intent on enrolling early.

Jalen Tabor, Florida Gators

The initial surprise came less than one week ago when Tabor committed to the Wildcats at the Under Armour All-America game. While shocking, it may not have been as much of a surprise as it seems. Tabor is close friends with high school teammate Jonathan Haden (remember the Hadens?) who has been committed to Arizona since May of last year.

This time around, he attempted to go bigger. Tabor committed to Florida and looks to enroll immediately. Coming in early, and with his level of talent, gives him a great chance to see early playing time. There’s a chance we could see Tabor as much in 2014 as we saw Vernon Hargreaves III in 2013.

Tabor’s commitment comes at a critical time for the Gators. With two of Florida’s top cornerbacks declaring their intentions to leave early and enter the NFL Draft—Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson—the Gators need to reload. Tabor is a perfectly acceptable way to do that.

The 6’1”, 182-pound cornerback is receives five stars from Rivals and four from the other major recruiting services. The 247 composite gives him a score of 0.9873 and puts him as the No. 24 player in the nation and No. 4 CB.

Arizona Wildcats 65 – Florida Gators 64; Gators Fall In Last Minute

You can’t win them all, and on Saturday night the Florida Gators proved that to be true. Up by six points with less than one minute to play, the Gators allowed the Arizona Wildcats to score seven straight in the final 56 seconds. The Wildcats concluded the flurry with a basket with seven seconds remaining to down the Gators 65-64. With the loss, the Gators fall to 7-1 with four games remaining until SEC play begins.

Arizona Wildcats

The tone of a bad final few minutes was set in the first half when the Gators failed to close out the first frame. Here’s the rundown of the Gators’ possessions over the final 3:06 of the first half.

3:06 – Patric Young made Jumper (This put the Gators up 32-21.)
2:44 – Will Yeguete Steal
2:21 – Erik Murphy missed Three Point Jumper
2:11 – Kenny Boynton Defensive Rebound
1:52 – Patric Young missed Jumper
1:52 – Will Yeguete Offensive Rebound
1:49 – Will Yeguete missed Layup
1:49 – Will Yeguete Offensive Rebound
1:49 – Will Yeguete missed Layup
1:49 – Erik Murphy Offensive Rebound
1:49 – Erik Murphy missed Layup
1:49 – Erik Murphy Offensive Rebound
1:43 – Patric Young Turnover
1:06 – Kenny Boynton missed Jumper
0:36 – Will Yeguete missed Jumper
0:36 – Scottie Wilbekin Offensive Rebound
0:30 – Scottie Wilbekin missed Layup
0:09 – Kenny Boynton Turnover
0:00 – End of the 1st Half (The Gators lead was cut to 32-29 at this point.)

The Wildcats were able to cut an 11-point deficit to a three-point one. It would all happen again at the end of the game when they cut a six-point deficit into a one-point victory.

It’s not horribly disappointing to lose to the nation’s No. 8 team. After all, Arizona possesses a good squad that is playing well. Florida wasn’t necessarily upset here. But, oddly enough, they were at the same time. When you lose in the fashion the Gators did, it is disappointing and at times even maddening. Put the final three minutes of the first half together with the final minute of the game and you get, by far, the worst four minutes the Gators have played this season. Yes, it could happen at much worse times in far more important games, but the way those four minutes unfolded are a sign from the past of a team that falls flat from time to time.

Billy Donovan has done wonders with the Gators over the past two seasons. Back-to-back Elite Eight appearances is an impressive feat for the two-time national champion head coach. However, the one thing his teams still need to improve upon is the dead time. When the Gators run out of power, they turn off almost completely. For those critical four minutes, the Gators were outscored 15-0. Think about that for just a second. This ended up being a one-point game. Even if the Gators had managed just one field goal in those four minutes, they could have won. 15-2, win. 15-3, victory Florida. 15-4, this team is still undefeated.

This Gators’ team is built to go far in the NCAA Tournament. Over the course of the still young season, the Gators have played well on both ends of the court and shown the ability to turn it on and completely dominate their opponents. For 36 minutes on Saturday night, the Gators put together a performance that should have led to a double-digit victory against a top-10 team. For the other four, they looked lost and desperate.

There’s plenty of season left and more than enough time for Donovan and the Gators to figure out why those dead minutes occur. This is still a good team and it could even be a great one, but they can’t beat themselves.

Florida Gators To Battle Through Tough Out-Of-Conference Schedule During 2012-13 Men’s Basketball Season

The Florida Gators will have their work cut out for them during the 2012-13 basketball season. With the Kentucky Wildcats coming off of a national championship and the rest of the SEC ready to pounce, the Gators will have to fight through what has become one of the tougher conferences in college basketball. But before they get there, Florida will have plenty to get them ready for the rigors of the Southeastern Conference. The Gators announced their 2012-13 out-of-conference schedule earlier this week and it’s a tough one.

11/1 — Nebraska-Kearney (Exhibition)
11/9 — Georgetown (Jacksonville, FL)
11/11 — Alabama State
11/14 — Wisconsin
11/18 — Middle Tennessee State (Tampa, FL – WHO’S COMING WITH ME???)
11/20 — Savannah State
11/23 — UCF
11/29 — Marquette
12/5 — at Florida State
12/15 — at Arizona
12/19 — Southeastern Louisiana
12/22 — Kansas State (Kansas City, MO)
12/29 — Air Force (Sunrise, FL)
1/6 — at Yale

Billy Donovan has put together quite the lineup for his Gators. It will have it’s tough moments, but should only prepare Florida for the SEC and beyond.

We’ve already talked about the aircraft carrier game on November 9. Now we get Wisconsin and Marquette as well as trips to FSU and Arizona. It’s sure to be a fun ride through the out-of-conference schedule.

This particular blogger is happy for the Tampa game against Middle Tennessee State and hopes to get there. It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to see the men’s basketball team in person, but here’s to hoping this is the season I can again.

College Basketball Takes The Forefront

“Ball so hard…”

There’s more to that line from a song with a title I won’t mention from Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne, but those three words serve the purpose of this piece.

You see, I have never balled so hard. During my basketball days, which thanks to uncooperative knees have long since passed, I was a lurker. I kept myself somewhere around the three-point line and rarely ventured anywhere near the rim. I was a defensive liability, but had the one redeeming quality of being able to hit threes. My inability to do little else led to me not play the sport in an organized fashion past the eighth grade with the exception of the occasional summer league or Saturday at the fraternity house. Even in those situations, it was quickly discovered that I lacked any desire to guard anyone, so being picked first or second or third was rarely an occurrence.

It was around the time of those fraternity house games that my love of the NBA disappeared. I can’t put a finger on exactly what caused my passion for the National Basketball Association to fade away, but it went from being an important part of my sports world to being an afterthought placed behind a handful of other sports. The NBA just didn’t do it for me anymore and 12 years later it still doesn’t.

What is amazing in all of that though is that I never stopped loving the game of basketball. Without a desire to closely follow it in its professional form, I still clung to the college game. Call it the aura of March Madness or the fact that I’ve always been drawn to college sports over professional ones, but I would still never miss a big game.

Today, not much has changed. The NBA lockout wasn’t news to me and neither was the league’s return. In fact, my only concern over the whole matter was the possible loss of Chandler Parsons’ rookie season. Despite this being the first time this season I’ve mentioned the sport on this site, I’ve been closely following the college basketball season. I’ve watched games, read predictions and previews. I’ve been keeping up with recruiting and the Florida Gators’ need to find any big men available (I’ll be posting an ad on Craigslist shortly). I’ve still loved the sport…the college version.

It’s funny because I like the NFL. I see it as many do, as an extension of a college athlete’s career as a football player. I play fantasy football and I participate in a variety of pools. I watch games on Sunday and am just as amazed at the Tim Tebow extravaganza as the rest of you. But when it comes to the NBA, I’ve moved on.

With the college football season winding down, my love of the college game grows. I’ve spent much of the day reviewing the Gators and reading everything I can about their Wednesday night opponent – the Arizona Wildcats. I’ve even brushed up on my knowledge of the Florida women’s team. Still weeks away from the Gators’ bowl game and two months away from national signing day, there’s a void to be filled. I openly welcome college basketball to fill it for me.

2011-2012 Florida Gators Basketball Schedule: Non-Conference Games Present Tough Road Ahead

What is this basketball thing you speak of? Well, basketball is a sport that starts in the fall and carries through the winter into the spring. We typically don’t hear much about it until sometime in January when the football season comes to an end, but it’s exciting and Florida is pretty darn good.
And in 2011-2012, the Gators will have every chance to prove it.
We’re one month away from the start of the college football season, so I won’t dive too deep in basketball, but instead just give you a quick overview of Florida’s non-conference schedule (you can find more at Alligator Army). Here are the highlights: November 15 – at Ohio State, December 2 – at Syracuse, December 7 – Arizona, December 22 – FSU. If it sounds tough, it’s because it will be, but it will also present a good challenge for the Gators. SEC play is never easy, but by the time Florida gets to the conference schedule, they’ll have been tested. This season has a chance to be a good one for the Gators and they’ll have plenty of opportunities to make some noise.

College Football Pick ‘Em – Week 11

My picks will be up tomorrow.  Your picks are due by Friday.  Post them here or email me.
Week 11 Games
Tennessee @ Ole Miss (-4.5) – O/U: 46
Florida (-15.5) @ So. Carolina – O/U: 42.5
Miami (-3) @ UNC – O/U: 43
Auburn @ Georgia (-4) – O/U: 57.5
Arizona @ Cal (-1) – O/U: 55.5
Current Standings and Leaders
1. Gatrmike – 81
2. KP – 76
3. One Eyed Willy – 75
4. The Bull Gator – 67
Winners: Gatrmike – 66%
Point Spread: KP – 44%
Over/Under: Gatrmike – 60%
Weeks Won: Gatrmike – 6
High Week: Gatrmike (Week 7) – 12
Low Week: The Bull Gator (Week 3) – 4

Morning Reading: A Look at the Rankings

My weekends have become black and white.  Night and day.  Ying and yang.  On Saturdays, I get to watch the #1 team in the nation squeak out wins left and right to get to their current 6-0 record.  On Sundays, I get to watch one of the worst teams in the NFL squander opportunities to fall to 0-6.  I have a theory with NFL teams.  Being that there’s so much parity in the NFL, even the best of worst teams can split their remaining games.  Injuries, flukes, or just plain luck (good or bad) can lead any team to go .500 over whatever remaining amount of games they have on their schedule.  But when you’re 0-6, splitting the final 10 games ain’t so hot.  I didn’t have high expectations for the Bucs at the beginning of the year; now I have none at all.  Thank goodness for Saturdays.

Alabama continued its rise up the AP Poll, but that doesn’t matter anymore.  What matters are the BCS Standings.  Since the AP doesn’t figure into the BCS, it’s time we big adieu to the media poll and move on to what determines who will play for the national championship.
Florida grabbed the top spot in the first incarnation of the BCS thanks to a #1 ranking in both the Coaches and Harris polls and a #1 computer average.  The Gators were the top team in four of the six computers with the top spot going to Alabama and Iowa in the other two.
Texas fans may be a little peeved their Longhorns came in at #3, but fear not.  With two SEC teams holding the first two spots, third is a very desirable position at the moment.
With the BCS Standings always comes the fun of the computer polls.  For the most part, you could make an argument about the Coaches and Harris polls having it right.  You may disagree slightly, but you can usually see where they’re coming from.  The computer polls on the other hand…
Texas is actually all the way down at #14 in one of the computer polls and outside of the top six in two more.  Three polls believe Boise State is better than the Longhorns and five (!) believe Iowa is better than Texas.  Among the teams ranked higher than #14 Texas: 2-loss Arizona.
Speaking of Arizona, the Wildcats and Wisconsin are wild cards.  Both teams rank in the 30s or 40s of the Coaches and Harris polls, but both have a computer average of #14.
Virginia Tech’s loss to Georgia Tech hurt Miami the most.  The Hurricanes are in the top 10 of both polls (and the BCS overall), but a computer average of #13 puts them quite a jump behind the #9 team, LSU.
And finally, ladies and gentlemen, Ohio State.  The Buckeyes come in at #19 thanks to the human ballots.  The computers, on the other hand, hate Ohio State.  Two put the Buckeyes at #25 and the other four left them out completely.