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Monday March 18, 2013 Gators a popular Final Four pick, Tebow news, Haeger strikes, Fire Chief Erron Kinney

Updated: 8:11pm, March 18

Kenny Boynton, Mike Rosario

The Gators open the NCAA Tournament on Friday night against Northwestern State in Austin, Texas.

I haven’t posted links in a few days, so here goes a look at some of the more interesting news of interest for Gator fans on this Monday afternoon.

These should keep you reading a while:’s Pete Thamel has the Gators among his five teams that are most difficult to project entering the NCAA Tournament. writer Andy Hutchins blogs about why the Gators are a popular Final Four pick.

--Eric Adelson of Yahoo! Sports writes a profile of Gators coach Billy Donovan that is worth a read.

--Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi pokes a little fun at Tobacco Road with Florida and Miami as Final Four candidates.

--Gainesville Sun columnist Pat Dooley writes that defense did in Gators in SEC Final.

--Love him or hate him, Ole Miss guard Marshall Henderson was the big story at the SEC Tournament writes Duane Rankin of the Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser.

--Northwestern State is Florida’s opponent in first round of March Madness. A look at the Demons’ reaction to Sunday’s news from the Shreveport (La.) Times.’s UF beat writer Michael DiRocco writes that the Gators’ backfield should be in good hands with Matt Jones and Co.

--The Orlando Predators are interested in former Gators quarterback Tim Tebow if no NFL team is writes the Los Angeles Times.

--Speaking of Tebow, here is what Jets coach Rex Ryan had to say about the Florida icon Monday at the NFL Annual Meetings in Arizona.

--Former Gators running back Emmitt Smith is not a fan of a new proposed NFL rule to prevent running backs from lowering their heads when being tackled.

--ESPN SweetSpot blogger David Schoenfield writes that former Gators catcher Mike Zunino will end M’s catching nightmares.

--The Florida baseball team dropped two of three to Kentucky in its SEC series opener writes Jim Harvin of the Gainesville Sun.’s latest NCAA women’s basketball bracketology forecast; Florida is on Charlie Crème’s S-Curve – but barely.

--UF softball player Lauren Haeger delivered on St. Patrick’s Day writes Adam Lichtenstein of the Independent Florida Alligator.

--Former Gators tight end Erron Kinney has a new title: Fire Chief of Mt. Juliet, Tenn. (Which happens to be the hometown of Florida women’s basketball coach Amanda Butler). Watch this video for more of Kinney's story, including his massive toy fire truck collection.

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