Gators clinch share of SEC regular-season title

By Adam Silverstein
March 2, 2013

No. 6/8 Florida Gators basketball (23-5, 13-3 SEC) has its sights set on the outright league championship but took the first step toward that goal on Saturday by clinching at least a share of the Southeastern Conference regular season title with a little help from a team that handed them a devastating defeat, the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Just a few hours after Florida ousted the Alabama Crimson Tide (19-10, 11-5 SEC) from the title race with a 64-52 come-from-behind victory at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL, the Kentucky Wildcats (20-9, 11-5 SEC) fell 73-60 on the road at Arkansas (18-11, 9-7 SEC) and dropped two games back in the SEC standings.

UF led both UA and UK by a single game at the start of play on Saturday.

The Gators, which now have six SEC regular season titles in program history, captured at least a share of the championship in two of the last three seasons (2011).

Florida can win the title outright with one victory in its next two games. UF hosts Vanderbilt (12-15, 6-9 SEC) on Wednesday evening in the O’Dome before concluding the regular season at Kentucky on Saturday, March 9.

Discussing the possibility of winning the SEC regular season title after his team’s victory on Saturday, Gators head coach Billy Donovan said he would be proud of the accomplishment though he would see it as the result of something much larger overall.

“That to me is always a byproduct of doing the right things,” he said.

Florida also clinched a bye in the 2013 SEC Tournament on Saturday as it solidified its standing as a top-four seed in the event. UF will not play until Friday, March 15.

Photo Credit: Phil Sandlin/Associated Press

6 Comments

  1. tguygator says:

    Tale of two tems. The lack of energy and bad decisions vs. energy and smart play. S happy for the win and really love this team.

  2. Bob says:

    I’m with you tguygator! I love this team too–warts & all. I love how Billy’s rebuilt the program since the ’04s won those back-to-backs. They’re not as good 1-5 as they were then, but he’s maximizing his talent and has been the last several years.

    Those two winnable Elite 8 games are heartbreaking but when he took over in the 90s we were celebrating just getting to the tourney!

    Go Gators!

  3. MAR says:

    Congratulations Gators! With the full team healthy and Billy D’s tournament savvy, I sense a deep run this year. I feel KB will find his shot and senior leadership in the post season.

  4. Terri says:

    Bob, I feel confidant this team wants it badly enough to keep working and improving. Watching highlights of yesterday’s game, for example….even though KB had another bad shooting day, he’s so fast and all over the place. His improvement in D is amazing.

    I hope we KILL UK on the road next Saturday.

    • Michael Jones says:

      Good call on KB, Terri. His heart, toughness, effort, and tenacity on D make up for the occasional off-shooting days. He could do better with his decision-making on some of the bizarre long-distance early-shotclock offense-killing bombs that he clanks off of the rim, but it’s hard not to love Kenny Boynton. He’s been a good Gator who’s always given his all.

      Wish he would drive more. He’s strong and has a devastatingly quick first step but too often pulls it back out when he has a lane to the bucket.

  5. Michael Jones says:

    Saw a little more heart, a little more toughness, a little more smarts, more attacking the basket, and more of an inside game against Bama (which resulted in us finally getting to the line). Hope Rosario got the message when he was sat for most of the 2nd half comeback. I’m not a fan/alum that thinks we always have to win it all to have a great season, but the WAY we lost the last two Elite Eights (and this year’s Arizona game) are hard to choke down. Being out-talented is one thing, but being out-smarted, out-toughed, out-hustled, and out-coached (and don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Billy Dononvan) is hard to choke down.

    Great win against Bama! Great positioning for the SEC tourney! Congrats on the share of the SEC title! GO GATORS!!!

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