Tennessee (17-10, 8-5) and Florida (21-7, 8-5) kick off March Madness in style today with a battle for first in the East.
GAINESVILLE -- There's a pretty important basketball game in a few hours at the O'Connell Center. It's Tennessee vs. Florida for a share of first place in the SEC East with South Carolina.
Gotta give credit to the Southeastern Conference for this match-up. As far as storylines go, it couldn't get much better. Is this a must-win game for Florida? If Tennessee knocks off the Gators at home, will it lock up an at-large bid for the Vols? I can't think of a better way to kickoff March Madness than this home game today.
Bruce Pearl will be animated [PICTURED]. Billy Donovan will pace. The Rowdy Reptiles will be OUT OF CONTROL! I'm actually thinking about bringing ear plugs. It's that kind of morning at the Goodman house.
For the preview story of today's game in The Miami Herald CLICK ME! I chose an angle focusing on UF freshman point guard Erving Walker and how first impressions mean little in college basketball. It's all about what happens in March. For anyone wanting more information on Walker's resisting arrest citation, I'll explain it a little better here in the blog.
Last September, Walker had only been at Florida for a month or so when he was busted for resisting arrest without violence. It's pretty silly what the guy did and he seemed overly embarrassed about the incident when I asked him to explain the scenario earlier this week.
ANYWAY, Walker was pulled over by campus police for not having lights on his scooter and received a warning. About 15 minutes later, the same cops attempted to stop Walker but the freshman from Brooklyn hopped a curb on his get-away ride and ditched the scooter behind the UF Law School building. (Irony, right?). Walker then took off on foot. (Make the pig chase you. That is what he secretly wants!) The chase didn't last long. Another cop was waiting for Walker on the other side of the building.
Walker has played well at home in the last month. He scored 18 points against South Carolina on Feb.3. He had six points, four rebounds, two assists, one block and three steals against Alabama on Feb. 18. In the Gators' last home game, Walker scored 11 points against Vanderbilt, including 3 of 3 from three-point range.
How will Tennessee's defensive length affect Walker today? It might be one of the keys to the game.