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Florida Gators

1. This Year's Team, Nothing Like Last Year's Team. 32.3 minutes, 11.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists. Those were the combined averages of the three Gators left over from last year's championship team. In all, the Gators lost 87 percent of last year's scoring, including their entire starting five and top reserve (not to mention 100 percent of their dress-wearers). This year's Gators are a young bunch, led by do-everything Freshman Nick Calathes (think Kirk Hinrich) and sophomore forward/center Marresse Speights (think Al Jefferson). They're joined by freshman guard Jai Lucas, son of former NBA coach John Lucas, who can apparently cure you of a marijuana addiction. Most important, one familiar face that did return from last year's team: head coach Billy Donovan. Billy D got to third base with the Orlando Magic in the offseason (down the pants but no penetration), but decided to come back to Gainesville, possibly helped by a $3.5 million-per-year contract. Donovan immediately set out on the recruiting trail, signing Lucas and five of next year's top 70 high school seniors.


2. But That Win over Stetson Was Huge. How did the Gators' RPI get so low, you might ask? Well, Florida's nonconference strength of schedule was ranked 281st in the nation, just below those of Maine and Southeast Louisiana. The Gators feasted on opponents like North Carolina Central and the Fightin' Hatters of Stetson early in the year, and their signature nonconference win was over ... Temple? Conference play has shown the Gators to be a wildly inconsistent bunch (such is youth), with impressive wins over Vanderbilt and Kentucky but big losses to Arkansas and LSU.

3. She's So Hot, She's Making Me Sexist. Erin Andrews, our Deadspin Collective Imaginary Girlfriend, was famously once a member of the Dazzlers, Florida's dance team/eye candy, causing Dickie V to have a Super Scintillating Sensational feeling in his pants. But how does this year's crop look? I know I'd certainly trust Lizzie as my financial adviser. And I think that Kasey has a bit of an early-2001 Stephanie McMahon look to her. If the Dazzlers aren't your cup of tea, remember that Florida boasts an ample amount of talent among their general coed population. It almost makes you forgive Emmitt Smith for being a little distracted in his classes, especially those that were supposed to teach him how to properly use words. — Ben Zani

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