Two Weeks to Lock up Bid

It all started shortly after Halloween, and still the post-season fortunes of the Gator Basketball team are yet to be determined. Florida has accomplished a lot to this point. The Gators have posted their tenth straight 20-win season and are still in the running for a first round bye in the SEC Tournament.

Florida has coped with having to field one of the youngest and thinnest rosters in college hoops to post a fine season and be part of the NCAA Tournament discussion. That in itself is quite an accomplishment when you consider the Gators lost the top six players off last year's NCAA Champs.

Now the Gators face a five game stretch run with four regular season games and a first round contest in the SEC Tournament. For weeks I have felt the Gators should be a lock at 22 wins, but I'm not so sure. The reason for that is a split of the last four games would put the Gators in the big dance if not for the SEC Tournament. The Gators probably can't afford a first round loss under those circumstances, so I now believe Florida must win three more games to be certain of an invite.

First up comes a road trip to Georgia to face a team with little to play for except the joy of screwing up someone else's plans. Normally that's not enough, but when its Florida/Georgia is just might be. The Bulldogs will play tough defensively and rely on their perimeter trio of Sundiata Gaines, Billy Humphrey and Terrance Woodbury.

Reviewing the First Game

The Gators beat Georgia 77-67 in the O'Dome just under three weeks ago. Florida won thanks in large part to a 27-nothing advantage in points off the bench. Chandler Parsons (18) was responsible for most of those points, which came despite the Georgia bench playing more minutes (49 to 43) than the Gator reserves.

The Gators enjoyed a plus-eight advantage in turnovers, which helped offset a miserable minus-9 on the boards. Four Gators including Parsons scored in double figures.

For Georgia it was the Sundiata Gaines show. The Bulldogs senior guard scored 32 in the O'Dome while also grabbing nine rebounds and dishing out five assists. The Dawgs had to play the game without their best outside shooter Billy Humphrey who is back from the team after serving yet another suspension.

Florida coach Billy Donovan knows the importance of this game. And he knows that Florida will have to play well to get a win up in Athens.

"They are a team that I think has played really, really well at home. They've got three losses (11-3) and those losses were against Kentucky, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. We're playing a team that was without its second leading scorer when they were in Gainesville. I always considered him (Humphrey) one of the better three point shooters in the league (.382). Now that he's back he adds a different dimension to their team shooting the basketball. We're on the road and I think it'll be another great test and challenge for our team."

Georgia enters the game with a 12-13 record overall, 3-9 in the SEC. That's a big drop off for a team that was 11-5, 2-1 just five weeks ago. Georgia is a long shot at best for even an NIT invitation and may be playing under the burden of having to save the job of Head Coach Dennis Felton. Georgia fans have been avoiding Stegeman Coliseum lately and it will be interesting to see what kind of crowd shows up. If there is any energy or passion left for Georgia basketball we'll find out Wednesday night.

A reminder…. The game is not televised live anywhere. We'll have it for you on Sun Sports on a tape-delayed basis at 10:30 p.m.

Questions or comments? Contact's Larry Vettel

Fightin Gators Top Stories