The No. 3 Florida Gators traveled to Knoxville to take on the Tennessee Volunteers in a game that many thought could go either way. The Gators triumphed due to multiple errors from the Volunteers and their ability to stick with the game plan when it was going wrong. Jarnell Stokes had another double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds, but turnovers plagued the team. Two huge missed dunks and a dreadful game from Jeronne Maymon offensively saw the Vols fall 67-58.
In all of my sports writing, I try extremely hard to avoid showing any bias toward any team or conference. However, I’m a student at the University of Tennessee, and, in my four years here, there has never been a more exciting atmosphere in a game from the student body than this one. No matter what happens this season, Tennessee proved that they aren’t just a football school and will be successful in the future. The atmosphere in Thompson-Boling Arena was exactly what college basketball is all about.
Now that my sappy moment is over, Florida proved tonight that they could go into an extremely volatile away environment and pull off a gutsy win. The Gators have something all over the court that a lot of the top teams just don’t – experience. Scottie Wilbekin is hands down one of the top three point guards in all of college basketball. He makes shots when the team needs them and is, in my opinion, the best one-on-one defender in the country.
Tennessee may not make the 2014 NCAA Tournament, and Florida may not make it to the Final Four, but this game proved to a lot of SEC haters that the conference is a lot more than just Florida and Kentucky. The SEC is on the rise, and Florida won a tough away outing against one of the top four teams in the conference.