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