Donovan Not Surprised with No. 2 Seed

There were plenty of confused looks when Florida's name popped up on Selection Sunday as a No. 2 seed. The Gators seemed locked into a No. 3 seed by all projections heading into the committee's official selections. There was one person who wasn't surprised, and it was Florida head coach Billy Donovan.

"I'm not surprised the all," Donovan said. "I think we probably got rewarded for the whole body of work of what happened during the course of the season."

The whole body of work includes, if not emphasizes, the out of conference schedule. Donovan realized this before last season and changed the schedule accordingly. The difference found the Gators in the tournament last year, and the head coach believes it's a big reason his team got a No. 2 seed.

"There was really, really a huge emphasis among the athletic directors and the commissioner about the non-conference scheduling and what we all needed to do," Donovan said. "I think with the commissioner being on the selection committee, he really talked to us about what goes on inside that room and what they're looking at. And that they really put a large, large emphasis on, not so much your league because those 16 games are already penciled in you've got to play them, but what are you doing with the games that you can schedule?"

Donovan expected his team to be in the middle of the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds, and he wasn't going to be surprised if it went either way. What might have put them over the top was the amount of wins away from Gainesville the team had.

The Gators won at Florida State and Xavier, while also beating a then-ranked top-five Kansas State team. In conference play, the Gators won at tough road venues like Tennessee, Georgia and Vanderbilt.

"I think you look at the fact of where you play on the road and what we did on the road and what we did in our non-conference schedule and who we played," Donovan said. "I wasn't surprised if you look at the whole entire season. Then, obviously, get to the championship game yesterday and then winning the league outright, I think that they looked at the whole season."

"So I think if you look at our whole body of work, I think we this year probably had as many wins against the RPI top 50 as any school in the country," Donovan said.

THOUGHTS ON UCSB: Being a two-seed means the Gators will face one of the weaker conference champions, and UC Santa Barbara looks to be that. The Gauchos were the No. 5 seed in their conference tournament, but they earned their second straight tournament berth when they knocked off No. 1 Long Beach in the conference championship game.

Guard Orlando Johnson is averaging 21.1 points per game to give them a dominant scorer, but the Gators don't know too much about them.

"We've got some game film on them," Donovan said. "They've got the leading scorer in the league who is a very, very good player. (James) Nunnally's a terrific shooter. But we're in the infant stages now of trying to gather all information."

Florida has a quicker turnaround than most teams in the tournament after playing in the SEC Tournament Championship on Sunday.

"This is a pretty quick turn around for us in the fact that playing yesterday and having to play Thursday, so there is a lot to get prepared for," Donovan said. "We're not going to do anything physically today having three games in three days."

The Gators used Monday afternoon to meet and watch film on UC Santa Barbara, while also focus on their own performance in the SEC Tournament.


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