NEW YORK — Florida football coach Jim McElwain and his wife Karen are in Madison Square Garden today with a front row seat to watch the Gators’ basketball team in the Elite Eight against South Carolina.
An avid basketball fan, McElwain happily posed for photos with fans and discussed why he had to come up this game.
“I’ve got to tell you, this was a childhood dream of mine to ever be in the Garden and now to be able to watch your team in the Garden, that’s even better,” he said.
Like the rest of the Gators’ supporters, McElwain was thrilled by Chris Chiozza’s buzzer-beating game-winner Friday night to down Wisconsin in overtime.
“We came off a great scrimmage on that night and we were able to get the film kind of looked at and we had to come back and have a great practice Saturday, but I’ve got to tell you now, that’s the way it should be,” he said.
When he met with reporters early this week, McElwain was raving about the way Mike White’s basketball team plays with a collective selflessness. At one point, he interrupted his own news conference to ask if he could talk basketball.
A reporter playfully asked him if Gators guard KeVaughn Allen was going to break out of his shooting slump. McElwain predicted he was due for a big game, and sure enough, the sophomore scored a career-high 35 points Friday night.
“I don’t know. All great players, you know, they never lose their confidence. They never lose confidence and he’s one of those kind of guys,” McElwain said.
As for a prediction for the Elite Eight showdown with South Carolina.
“Gators. We’ll see you in Phoenix,” he said.