Ridaught: SEC—It just means more

A little over two weeks ago, I gave Florida little chance of making the NCAA Tournament.

Their hopes were fading, but they had three big opportunities ahead of them with then No. 2 Auburn, No. 23 Arkansas, and No. 4 Kentucky all at home.

The Gators (19-12) went 1-2 with a win against Auburn.

Despite wins against Georgia and Vanderbilt to close out their road schedule, Florida’s chances of making the NCAA tournament are now at 17 percent according to TR Brackets.

But there is one obvious way to make “The Big Dance,” win the SEC tournament, which starts this Wednesday at 6 p.m. with No. 13 seed Ole Miss facing No. 12 seed Missouri at Amalie Arena in Tampa.

Florida, which tied for fifth with a 9-9 record in league play, will open up as the No. 9 seed against No. 8 seed Texas A&M on Thursday at noon. 

The Gators lost 56-55 at A&M on Feb. 15. If UF had won that game and at least the Texas Southern game, they would probably be in with 21 victories. 

You could probably throw Maryland in there too based on their 15-16 record, but they do have wins against then-No. 17 Illinois and No. 22 Ohio State in 2022.

But those games are in the past and all UF can worry about is what is in front of them.

A win against Texas A&M would match the Gators up against Auburn again.

The same website that gives Florida less than a 20 percent chance of making the NCAA Tournament, gives them a 59.78 percent chance of beating the Aggies, but only a 16.06 percent chance of knocking off the Tigers again.

But that’s why they play the games. Anything is possible.

Ask the Kentucky women.

In seven seasons as the Gators’ head coach, Mike White has made the NCAA tournament each season (no postseason tournament in 2019-20) except his first, when Florida advanced to the NIT quarterfinals.

It’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Gators can win the SEC tournament, just unlikely.

Just like Florida’s chances of making the NCAA tournament.

But with Brian Bennett of the Athletic projecting six SEC teams to make the field, Florida still has a chance.

 

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