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Midnight Madness mayhem

By JOANNE KORTH

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 12, 2000


GAINESVILLE -- Teddy Dupay's eyes narrowed.

The shortest player on Florida's basketball team at 5 feet 11, Dupay doesn't figure to be a factor in a dunk contest. But why not cap off Midnight Madness with something truly mad?

"I've got a few tricks lined up," Dupay said.

Florida will usher in the 2000-01 season with Midnight Madness festivities starting at 9:30 p.m. Friday and culminating with the men's and women's teams taking the court just after the stroke of midnight.

The event is free, with more than 5,000 expected coming off the excitement generated by the men's national runner-up finish last season. The Gators return eight scholarship players from the team that lost to Michigan State 89-76 in the final.

At midnight, it starts again.

"We look forward to it," senior forward Major Parker said. "You grow up hearing about Midnight Madness, and now you get to be a part of it. It's a good way to get the students and the community involved."

Entertainment will include a replay of Florida's 71-59 victory against North Carolina at the Final Four; performances by the Dazzlers dance squad, pep band and cheerleaders; a costume contest for the best "Terror Between the Rims" attire; a dunk contest for UF students; a celebrity shootout; and video highlights from the men's and women's 1999-00 seasons.

The women's team will be introduced and do drills, followed by dunk and three-point shooting contests. The teams will hold their first real practices later Saturday.

"The highlight is getting introduced for the first time of the year, coming out with that spotlight on you," sophomore Matt Bonner said.

Players to watch in the dunk contest include sophomore guard Justin Hamilton, who is working on a between-the-legs dunk a la Vince Carter, and freshman Orien Greene.

CROSS COUNTRY: Senior Rob Evans, whose right arm did not grow past his elbow, will compete in the 1,500 meters at the Paralympic Games in Sydney, Australia, this month. Evans' personal-best time of 3 minutes, 49.02 seconds would be a Paralympic record.

WOMEN'S SOCCER: The Gators returned to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America rankings at No. 23 after winning five straight matches, including victories against then-No. 13 Virginia and then-No. 10 Kentucky. Florida (8-6, 4-0 SEC) was No. 10 in the preseason poll but fell out after losing six matches to Top 25 teams.

WOMEN'S TENNIS: Junior Jessica Lenhoff won consecutive singles tournaments, claiming the Flight One draw and the St. Mary's Health Systems Classic in Knoxville, Tenn., with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over teammate Julia Scaringe on Sunday. Lenhoff is 7-0 in the fall season.

WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL: The Gators, ranked No. 10 by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, won the battle of unbeaten SEC teams Sunday, 15-4, 15-7, 14-16, 15-4 against South Carolina. Florida (13-3, 5-0) has won seven straight and 21 of 22.

BASEBALL: The team starts fall practice Monday. The Gators have 17 newcomers and 22 returning letter-winners from last season's 44-23-1 team, which reached the NCAA region final in Waco, Texas.

MEN'S GOLF: Florida, No. 17 in the MasterCard Rankings, will co-host with Central Florida the Gary Koch/Cleveland Golf Intercollegiate at Old Memorial Golf Club in Tampa. The 15-team field will include No. 20 North Florida, South Florida and Florida State. The first two rounds will be played Monday, the final round Tuesday.

- Contact Gators beat writer Joanne Korth at (800) 333-7505, ext. 7306 or by e-mail at Korth@sptimes.com.

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