Florida Gators invited to 2010 NCAA Tournament

By Adam Silverstein
March 14, 2010

Florida Gators basketball (21-12, 9-7 SEC) has earned a berth to the 2010 NCAA Tournament, their first in three seasons. Announced during the NCAA Selection Show live on CBS Sunday night, Florida – a No. 10 seed – will face the No 7-seed Brigham Young Cougars (29-5, 13-3 MWC) of the Mountain West Conference in first-round action in Oklahoma City, OK, on Thursday.

The Gators, trying for their 13th-straight NCAA Tournament victory, are placed in the West region and could advance to face No. 2-seed Kansas State or No. 15-seed North Texas in the second round on Sat., March 20. Syracuse earned the region’s No. 1 seed.

Head coach Billy Donovan: ”We’re very, very excited and grateful for this opportunity. I’m most excited for our players having a chance to experience this, for most of them this is something they haven’t been through yet. They’ve worked so hard from day one, and it’s great to see them rewarded.

Junior forward Chandler Parsons: “It was a stressful 48 hours. We don’t want to go and play one game, we want to prove we’re deserving of being there.”

NCAA Selection Committee Chairman Dan Guerrero: “It’s not necessarily about how you finish, but it’s what you do during the course of the year.”

Earning a No. 10-seed indicates that UF was not as close to the bubble as many speculated. That or Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive had plenty of pull. Florida, along with Minnesota, Utah State and UTEP earned bids while Mississippi State, Virginia Tech and Illinois were among the final cuts.

H/t Jeremy Fowler of the Orlando Sentinel for the quotes.

16 Comments

  1. ReptilesRule says:

    Like Spurrier used to say, God was smiling on the Gators. Bet Billy’s smiling as well. Maybe this will be a foundation back to a top 25 program in the coming years.

  2. John Shanks says:

    Thank god, sorry for MSU, but all told we played a better schedule, if we were in the SEC west we’d have another 3 wins and be a 6 or 7 seed. Thank you Kentucky for that late layup to send it to OT.

  3. brlgator says:

    When I got the text that we made the tourney I almost dropped my drink. When I heard we were a 10seed I did drop my drink. Guess joe lunardi knows a lot less then we thought

  4. Mitch says:

    I heard it on radio driving back to Orlando from Yankee spring game in Bradenton. Almost hit a car in the other lane. Great news. All they talked about on the radio was whether or not we should have been in and how high we were seeded. Good for us. Some positive vibes for the team after a tough end of season. Lets go beat BYU and make the invite really count

    • Billy Donovan should be on the hot seat. He isn’t worth all of the money. He can’t even get the Gators to the…um…nevermind. (sarcasm)

      A 10-seed proves it was not a question for the selection committee. Imagine the seed Florida would have had if it didn’t lose four of it’s last five.

  5. Dude says:

    Awesome news.

  6. SC Gator says:

    I’m not THAT surprised that we got in… if it’s possible to have quality losses, we have them in spades… not am I surprised that Miss St. didn’t. Landing a 10 seed was unexpected though.

    And yeah, people really, really need to lay off the whole Billy D – hot seat crap. I’m just old enough to remember the ’87 team. None of my friends were basketball fans, not at 6 years old at least, but dad and all of his friends were. Everyone was shocked and amazed just as being there, then to run up to the sweet sixteen… it gave the program hope but I remember people still thinking that this could be a once in lifetime event. The idea that 20 years later we would have two titles under out belt, and would have played for a 3rd, would have been shocking.

    That we Gators can get so worked up over missing the dance twice… is proof in itself of how far we have come, and that progress can pretty much be credited to Donnovan.

  7. SC Gator says:

    Oh… and some fun history, for anyone that didn’t know…

    Had Florida managed to win their sweet sixteen game, and their elite eight, they would have found themselves facing a Providence team led by a senior point guard that fans had dubbed Billy The Kid.

  8. Brittany says:

    I’m glad we got in. And all this talk of MSU on other blogs deserving a spot over UF is ridiculous. Having a better week does not make up for having a worse season.

  9. ReptilesRule says:

    Adam, I’m as big of a Gator homer as you can imagine. But I’m also a realist and the facts are the facts. We lost 4 out of last 5 games, including to bottom feeder Georgia. I know they play well at home, but UF had blown them out at the O’Dome. We had every advantage (other than home court) including plenty of rest and time to prepare while UGA was playing their 2nd game in like 3 days, but most of all we had motivation on our side. Instead, we came out playing like it was an exibition game and Georgia played like the team with a tournament berth on the line. And again on Friday against Miss State, we knew what was at stake and yet came out totally not ready to play. I feel for MSU, they took #1 Kentucky right to the wire, displaying to all that THEY knew what was at stake. While I am very happy we got in, let’s call a spade a spade…we were very fortunate to get in and some would even say that we backed in. That aside, I am hope this is something we can build on and I am hopeful of better days ahead.

  10. gatorspirit says:

    sweet

  11. Drew 4 Orange & Blue says:

    I thought we had a decent shot….big negatives were RPI and finishing poorly but we had a lot in the positive columns with solid OOC wins against FSU and Mich State and played Syracuse and Richmond very close…the Xavier game was probably the only OOC disapointment…the other thing about the Gators is we didn’t have many bad losses like Miss State…..good to be back in the dance

  12. SC Gator- Also surprised MSU didn’t get a bid.

    Reptiles – Gators lost to “bottom-feeder” Georgia at home where they were something like 13-2 including wins against some very good teams. You say the team had plenty of rest – it didn’t – Florida was on a tough-as-nails schedule with games packed into short periods of the at the end of the season. As for losing to MSU, the Gators got it within two (maybe even one) and had a chance to win – and that MSU team ended up beating Vandy and coming within 0:01 of a bid/SEC Championship – so not sure how that is a bad loss either. Again, the Gators were not “fortunate” to get in – they got a 10 seed.

  13. Bob says:

    I’ve said several times on this site and multiple times to friends and fellow fans, I really like this team. They have major flaws to be sure (slow starts being one of them) and maddening inconsistency, but I just think they’re fun to watch. They play hard, even when starting out slow. And that’s more, I think, than can be said for the last two years’ teams. GO GATORS.

  14. ReptilesRule says:

    We rspectfully disagree. But one thing we DO agree on is now that they’re in…GO GATORS!!! (Don’t you wish Congress could act this way)???

  15. Drew 4 Orange & Blue says:

    I agree our schedule down the stretch was brutal then we faced a fresher team who was not playing back to back and also shot the lights out 10-20 from 3 point and 57% from the field…we did well to fight back and make it close…our resume was still better than MSU’s…we went 6-0 against the west in the regular season…MSU should have come out of there with at least 10 wins and they probably get in

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