Location: Bridgestone Arena – Nashville, Tennessee [Capacity: 19,395]
Time: 1:00 p.m. EST
SiriusXM: 93/190 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter
|(8) FLORIDA GATORS||(9) ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE|
|Head Coach: Billy Donovan||Head Coach: Anthony Grant|
|Record: 15-16 (8-10 SEC)||Record: 18-13 (8-10 SEC)|
|Conference: Southeastern||Conference: Southeastern|
Odds: Florida -4
IT’S NOW OR NEVER FOR THE GATORS
Despite the team’s dismal campaign, Donovan’s worst since his second season at Florida (1997-98) … despite the Gators averaging their fewest points per game (64.0) since 1950-51 … despite UF being so inefficient from the foul line that the term “free throw” has become ironic (.632 is its worst mark since 1951-52) … despite all of that, Florida enters the SEC Tournament on Monday on equal footing with the rest of the league.
It will likely take at least one win – if not two – to give the Gators a chance at earning an NIT berth. It will assuredly require winning the tournament outright for Florida to advance to the NCAA Tournament for the sixth-straight year. And if you ask Donovan, this particular UF squad is as ready as it will ever be for this test.
“Hopefully, they’re excited to play. You’re getting a chance to go somewhere and play at a neutral site. It’s an opportunity to play again. I think our guys, over the last couple of weeks, we’ve gotten better as a team,” he said on Tuesday.
“Better” is a relative term when it comes to these Gators. Injuries and suspensions have limited how much Florida has been able to develop as a complete unit this season, but for team with known talent deficiencies (according to Donovan), the Gators’ schedule – one of the toughest in the nation – did not do it any favors either.