Franz Beard’s Basketball Confidential

Florida’s win on the road at Georgia Wednesday night was a huge step in the maturity process for the Gators. Not only was this a win the Gators had to have, it was on the road at one of the toughest places for a visitor to win in all of the Southeastern Conference. Georgia rarely loses at home but the Gators led bell to bell and ensured that they will finish at least .500 in the SEC.

The Gators (21-7, 8-5 SEC East) got another break this week, both literally and figuratively. When Kentucky’s Patrick Patterson went down for the rest of the season with a stress fracture in his ankle, it certainly boosts Florida’s chances of getting that ninth win that will take all the doubt out of making the NCAA Tournament for the tenth straight year.

Kentucky (16-10, 10-3 SEC East) is a game behind Tennessee in the East standings but without Patterson, the Mildcats could go 0-3 down the stretch. Vanderbilt (24-4, 9-4 SEC East) has a couple of very losable games with Arkansas on the road and a homer against Mississippi State. If Vandy stumbles twice, that final game at Alabama could be a killer.

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Franz Beard
Back in January of 1969, the late, great Jack Hairston, then the sports editor of the Jacksonville Journal, called me on the phone one night and asked me if I wanted to work for him. I said yes. The entire interview took 30 seconds. It's my experience that whenever the interview lasts 30 seconds or less, I get the job. In the 48 years that I've been writing and getting paid for it, I've covered Super Bowls, World Series, NCAA basketball championships, BCS championship games, heavyweight title fights and what seems like thousands of college football, baseball and basketball games. I'm a columnist and special assignments editor for Gator Country once again, writing about the only team that ever mattered to me, the Florida Gators.