Inside NCAA basketball: Gators have best shot at perfection - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Inside NCAA basketball: Gators have best shot at perfection

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Posted: Wednesday, January 18, 2006 5:52 am | Updated: 2:11 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Expectations in Gainesville are building with every win by the undefeated and second-ranked Florida Gators. Just more than halfway through the season, Florida is 16-0 and some fans are fantasizing about an undefeated run through the weak SEC — an accomplishment that senior Adrian Moss called "borderline impossible."

Only two other Division I teams are undefeated.

Duke is 16-0 but the thought of even the most talented of teams running the table in the ACC is madness. Pittsburgh is 14-0, but the thought of an unbeaten run through the Big East is nearly as laughable.

That leaves the Gators as the favorite — if that term can even be used — to head undefeated into the postseason.

Florida coach Billy Donovan isn’t convinced though.

"There’s good coaches. There’s bad shooting. There’s illness. There’s so much (possible) adversity," Donovan told the Gainesville Sun.

"I’m not really concerned about that with us at this point. I’m concerned about us going into each game being the best we can be."

BLUE BLOODS FALL

The score roundup Saturday looked like something out of Bizarro world as North Carolina, Kentucky and Kansas all lost on their home courts on the same day.

The Tar Heels fell 81-70 to Miami, the Wildcats 68-64 to Alabama and the Jayhawks 59-55 to Kansas State. North Carolina is playing decently despite its youth, but the other two programs are both struggling mightily.

If the NCAA tournament field were released today, Kansas and Kentucky would be in serious trouble, hoping for NIT berths.

OWLS FIGHTING

Two years after winning the Division II championship and in its first season of Division I play, Kennesaw State is in first place in the Atlantic Sun Conference.

The Fighting Owls — as opposed to the pacifist owls — are 9-8 overall, 7-1 in conference play, and gunning for the A-Sun’s automatic berth to the Big Dance.

The biggest perk of the move to Division I?

"My favorite thing about Division I, and I always get comments about this from our alumni . . . we get to see our name on the ESPN scroller every other night," Kennesaw athletic director Dr. Tom Waples told ESPN.com.

MARATHON GAME

A team of 12 Duke students outlasted their counterparts from North Carolina in a 58-hour basketball game that has been deemed the longest in the history of the sport by the "Guinness Book of World Records."

The game tipped off at 8 a.m. Saturday at Fetzer Gymnasium in Chapel Hill. It ended at 6 p.m. Monday with the Blue Devils escaping with a 3,688-3,444 victory.

In addition to setting a world record, the game raised about $60,000 for the Hoop Dreams Basketball Academy, a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve the lives of children with life-threatening illnesses through basketball.

Quotable

"I’ve had this mustache for a couple months now. It’s the first one I’ve ever gotten, and I’m keeping it for a while. Everybody’s going to talk trash, but what people don’t realize is it adds fuel to the fire."

— Thinly mustachioed Gonzaga star Adam Morrison on the facial-hair choice that only he and Jake Plummer could love

Bubble watch

•It’s been a long time since Rutgers appeared in the NCAA tournament, and the school was bounced on that occasion by Arizona State. Fifteen years later, Scarlet Knight fans are hoping a 12-4 start can be maintained in the loaded Big East. Their RPI is only 71 and an earlier loss to Charlotte is troubling, but an upset of undefeated Pittsburgh tonight could improve their outlook.

Introducing

Maurice Ager, Michigan State. The 6-foot-5 senior guard (pictured) has played with a chip on his shoulder after being left off the preseason All-Big Ten team. Athletic and accurate from NBA range, Ager is scoring 19.9 points per game. A borderline prospect after his junior season, Ager has transformed himself into a possible lottery pick.

Looking Ahead

• West Virginia at UCLA, Saturday on Ch. 5. The 17th-ranked Mountaineers take a day off from conference play to fly cross country and face the 16th-ranked Bruins. After a 2-3 start, West Virginia has reeled off 10 straight wins, including victories over Oklahoma and Villanova. UCLA has battled a slew of injuries but still managed a rare win over Arizona in Tucson. Our top seeds Duke (16-0), Florida (16-0), Illinois (16-1) and Connecticut (15-1). Great week helps UConn creep back into top four.

- This report includes information collected from other media sources.

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