Florida’s Kasey Hill cleared to return Saturday against LSU

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No. 1 Florida will get deeper in the backcourt Saturday when they host LSU, as it was reported that freshman point guard Kasey Hill has been cleared to return to game action. The Gators have played their last three games without Hill, who was forced to sit out due to a groin injury.

Head coach Billy Donovan noted in his meeting with the media on Friday that Hill hasn’t displayed any “limping or anything that I can notice where he looks hampered or bothered” during preparations for Saturday’s matchup. Florida’s won 20 consecutive games since losing at UConn on a Shabazz Napier jumper as time expired on December 2, and continuing their current run would put the Gators in a good position when it comes to earning the top overall seed in the NCAA tournament.

Hill’s averaging 5.6 points and 3.1 assists per game for Florida, and his return should help starter Scottie Wilbekin as Florida prepares for a run at the program’s third national title. Wilbekin’s averaging 34.0 minutes per game on the season, so he’s clearly used to logging a lot of minutes. But in the three games Florida played without Hill, Wilbekin averaged 37 minutes per game and played 38 minutes in wins over Ole Miss and Vanderbilt.

If Hill’s effective once back in the rotation, maybe Florida can get Wilbekin a couple more minutes of rest ahead of tournament play. And with Hill and Wilbekin being Florida’s only true point guard options, being at full strength at the position is important if the Gators are to win a national title.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: