Georgia '08 not Inspiring Gators ‘09

A year ago the lowly Georgia Bulldogs overcame a lousy season, mediocre roster, tornadoes and more to shock the SEC by winning the conference basketball tournament in Atlanta. While many people could take inspiration from that heading into this year's event, Billy Donovan is not one of them.

Donovan's Gators certainly had a much better season than Georgia did a year ago, but a run through the SEC Tournament would be almost as surprising. Still, Donovan remains focused on one thing and that's the next game, Thursday night against Arkansas.

"The fact that we play on Thursday and we have a game that is the most important thing. I don't think you can go into this type of tournament looking down the road. People are always talking about the tournament or Saturday and asking if you can win four games in a four day period. We will worry about that when it gets there. That will be something we will worry about then."

The Gator head man was asked if the tournament was as wide open as ever in that any of the 12 teams could leave Tampa with the trophy. But if the questioner was looking to get Donovan to take his focus off the Razorbacks, he failed.

"I don't think you talk about winning (the event), you talk about trying to play very good basketball to beat Arkansas. You can't win anything unless you get past your first day. So, talking about the Tournament as a whole, that is not what it is really about. The SEC Tournament Championship right now is against Arkansas because you have to win in order to advance. If you don't win you go home so it is not even about to me whether or not it is open or not open. I don't think there is any question, based on what happened last year, that no one ever predicted Georgia. Could that happen again this year? Absolutely. The main focus for us is we have to play our best basketball Thursday night at 9:45. That is really all this comes down to me as a coach is our total focus and energy towards that."

Still there is a lot on the line for a number of SEC teams when play gets underway Thursday afternoon at 1:00. Only Tennessee and LSU seem assured of invitations to the Big Dance with several other teams wondering if they need one, two, three or four wins to get in. We'll examine the pros and cons surrounding the top eight SEC teams tomorrow.

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