Florida pulls away from St. Bonaventure in NCAA Tournament; spring practice kicks off

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Gators start slow, finish strong in comfortable win

For most of the first half, it wasn’t very pretty for the Florida basketball team Thursday night in its NCAA Tournament opener.

But that didn’t matter at all thanks to a dominant second-half performance by the Gators.

After being tied with No. 11-seed St. Bonaventure late in the first half, sixth-seeded Florida surged all the way to a 23-point lead during the second half on the way to a 77-62 win in Dallas.

Florida (21-12) moves on to face 3-seed Texas Tech (25-9) on Saturday at 8:40 p.m. ET on TNT.

The Red Raiders will be tough, especially with a large and loud fan base flooding American Airlines Center.

First, though, a look back at the first step in the Gators’ postseason journey.

  • And here’s how coach Mike White addressed the team after the win:

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Florida football opens spring practice Friday

Recruiting roundup

  • SEC Country’s Zach Abolverdi writes how the start of spring practice could lead to some commitments for the Gators.
  • Brendan Gant, a 4-star safety from Lakeland, Fla., is keeping his options over after the turnover on Nick Saban’s Alabama staff. “I’m still enjoying the process and trying to take it all in,” Gant told SEC Country. “I’m committed, but I still got a lot of time. So I keep an open mind, but I never know what could happen in the future. At the end of the day, my final decision is going to be what’s best for my future.” Read more here.

In SEC news …

  • Georgia has hired former Indiana coach Tom Crean to take over its men’s basketball program. It’s a strong hire for the Bulldogs. Read more here.

Florida baseball opens SEC play

  • The No. 2 Florida baseball team (16-3) goes on the road this weekend to open SEC play at South Carolina (12-5) with games at 7 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.
  • Here’s a look at the pitching matchups:

What they’re saying on Twitter

  • It was a good day for SEC basketball in general …

  • Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin is always keeping it entertaining on Twitter:

  • Former Gators football standout David Nelson was among the Florida fans in attendance in Dallas:

  • This montage of new Florida strength coach Nick Savage working with the players in the weight room is enough to pump anybody up:

  • New Florida WR Trevon Grimes is ready for his first spring practice in Gainesville:

  • As is Gators running back Lamical Perine:

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The post Florida pulls away from St. Bonaventure in NCAA Tournament; spring practice kicks off appeared first on SEC Country.

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