7:30 PM - This Georgia-Alabama game is a lot closer than anyone might have expected. No. 5 seed Georgia leads No. 12 seed Alabama by just TWO at halftime - 31-29. The Crimson Tide even led during parts of the opening 20 minutes. Let me remind you that this Alabama team won just ONE SEC game during the regular-season, a 65-54 home victory against South Carolina.
From a UF fan's perspective this could be great if Alabama pulls it out. Georgia could still be considered on the NCAA bubble and this loss would not help its case much.
5:35 PM - Sorry it's taken me so long to update this I was busy interviewing some people that come out to see the game, check tomorrow's alligator for a both game coverage and a great sidebar on Carol Ross's pregame talk, University of Florida president Bernie Machen's presence at the game and what it took for transfer Susan Yenser to make it to the game.
Final Score - UF 71, South Carolina 57.
The Gamecocks made a few late pushes in the second half, but the Gators never let them back into the game as they had done so many times on the road. Depree Bowden led UF with 21 points, 19 of which came in the first half.
Had a delicious hospitality dinner (well that, or I was really hungry - hadn't eaten anything since a breakfast sandwich at 5:15 AM - Eastern). The next game is set to tip off around 6:30 and features No. 5 seed Georgia against No. 12 seed Alabama.
3:32 PM - Well things couldn't have gone any better for the Gators in the first half. They led the Gamecocks 34-17 at the intermission - and UF senior guard Depree Bowden had 19 first-half points - outscoring South Carolina single-handedly. In case you're wondering, Bowden's career high is 28.
2:15 PM: Mississippi ended up holding to defeat Mississippi State 54-49 and will now face top-seeded LSU at noon on Friday. The Rebels were led by Bianca Thomas, who scored 18 points in 25 mintutes off the bench.
The Gators and Gamecocks have taken the floor for warmups and tipoff will be a little after 2:30.
1:46 PM: Alright I made it here, in the Sommet Center. Press Row sits across from the scorer's table, although I'm all the way at the end right now.
There's definitely a different feeling in the air now that we've hit March and teams are playing for their postseason chances.
We've got a close one - No. 8 seed Mississippi is leading No. 9 seed Mississippi State 46-39, although they were tied just a few minutes ago.
I've already run into UF head coach Amanda Butler as well as assistant coaches David Lowery and Susie Gardner. Butler seemed very focused as she left to go to the locker room. I caught up with Lowery watching the game - he's a MSU grad.
9:08 AM: Well I've made it to Tennessee, but I'm not quite in Nashville just yet. I'm stuck in Memphis International nearing the end of a two-hour layover before I can take my flight to Nashville.
Weirdest thing just happened. My name was called over the PA to go to the stand and see an attendant. I'm freaking out, thinking my bag was lost in the connection - nope.
The seat I was supposed to sit in is apparently broken. So I got a new seat/boarding pass - I hope I still have an aisle seat! =\ I hate these small regional jets….
And I've had to think of everything in central time now.
Anyhow, due in Nashville at 10:40 CT - with four games on the slate today.
(Numbers next to team names refer to seeds)
Game One: (8) Mississippi vs. (9) Mississippi State - Noon
Game Two: (7) UF vs. (10) South Carolina - 2:30
Game Three: (5) Georgia vs. (12) Alabama - 6:30
Game Four: (6) Auburn vs. (11) Arkansas - 9
Some interesting notes:
The last game - Auburn/Arkansas - is a rematch of the game played on the last day of the season. Auburn's win on March 2 allowed it to grab the No. 6 seed leaving UF with the No. 7 seed.
Alright I've got to go - we're boarding. Next time I'll post, I should be at the Sommet Center!