Gators Should be in, But……

The Gator basketball team may have punched its ticket for the Big Dance Thursday night, and I would argue their 73-58 win over Arkansas should have assured them an invitation but you can't be certain. Florida's win over Arkansas gives the Gators 23 wins, two more than they brought to the table a year ago when they were among the last eight teams eliminated from the field.

The Gators also posted their second straight win, which is something they failed to do down the stretch last season.

Still there's no way the Gators can be certain that they have done enough to return to the field of 65. Florida faces a late night game with Auburn in which a win would assure an invite, but a loss raises a bunch of possibilities.

Solid, Strange Win

Most of this season there have been two constants with this basketball team. The Gators win if they shoot it well and Nick Calathes has a good game and takes care of the basketball. Well Florida stunk it up from the perimeter Thursday night, making just 6-of-23 from behind the arc. Additionally Calathes committed five turnovers in the first half alone and ended up with just 11 points. Still, Florida won comfortably over an Arkansas team that somehow went from 12-1 to finish up at 14-16.

The Gators did get a strong game from much maligned junior forward Dan Werner. The guy who some Gator fans blame for everything from global warming to the existence of Lane Kiffin posted his first double-double of the season with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Walter Hodge continued his strong late season play with 16 points despite 0-for-6 shooting from behind the arc.

Florida was clinging to a 39-38 lead early in the second half before taking off on a 19-5 run to take a 15 point lead and the game was never in doubt the rest of the way. The Gators showed some poise in running clock, but also reverted to their goofy form of early shots with a lead in the final five minutes. It's obvious that's one thing that's not going away.

Looking Ahead to Day Two

So day one of the SEC Tournament is in the books and the four highest seeded teams all won on day one. Don't look for that to continue. While the top four teams in the league benefited from the day off, I don't think all four will win on Friday. Truth be told, I don't think more than two of the four will move on. The best day of the SEC tournament is just hours away.

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