Bruce Pearl is Gators' 'Daddy'

Remember in the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry when New York got on a roll against Sox ace Pedro Martinez and eventually the star righthander said, "You have to call the Yankees my daddy?" Yankees' fans responded by serenading Pedro with a "Who's Your Daddy" chant from then on.

Well if the Gators don't knock off Tennessee when the Vols visit Gainesville late in the season it would not be shocking for the fans at Thompson-Boling Arena to taunt the Gator Basketball team the same way.

Florida lost to the Vols for the sixth straight time 61-60 Sunday afternoon. The Gators had a great look at the end of the game, but Alex Tyus missed a five footer in the closing seconds. It was Florida's best chance to beat the boys from Rocky Top since the '07 NCAA champs handled them in Gainesville. That win is the only one the Gators have in nine matchups with Bruce Pearl, which is the lion's share of the 10-2 record Tennessee has enjoyed in the last dozen contests.

Ironic ending ----- It was a shame that Tyus missed that final shot, because he had played one of his best games of the season up to that point. Instead of people remembering the 18 points and seven rebounds he produced it is more likely that the final basket sticks with them. Similarly Chandler Parsons will be remembered for missing two of three free throws rather than his 14 points and eight boards.

Off guard ----- Florida has had success in the SEC largely thanks to outstanding play from the back court of Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton. They didn't get that in Knoxville. Walker committed a season high six turnovers while making just one of six shots from three point range. Boynton missed all five of his long range shots, and finished with four points and four turnovers.

Bench better ----- Florida has not been getting much from its reserves lately, but Florida's bench was a bit more productive in this one. Dan Werner hit his first 3-point shot in almost a month and Erik Murphy contributed three points, three rebounds and two steals in just seven minutes on the floor. Add in Ray Shipman and Florida got eight points off the bench. That's not great, but it's double what the reserves contributed in the previous two games combined.

Looking ahead ----- The Gators are now 15-6, 4-3 in the SEC with 10 games left in the regular season. Florida probably needs six of those games to feel comfortable about its NCAA chances at the end of the year. The Gators face Alabama in Tuscaloosa Thursday night before another quick turnaround on Saturday when Mississippi State visits the O'Connell Center.

SEC bid chances ----- After a really bad year with the NCAA last year the SEC is in solid position to have five teams in the field of 65 this time around. Kentucky is already a lock and Vanderbilt and Tennessee seem certain to get bids and possibly top five seeds. Then you have three teams that may be competing for two spots. Florida is one of the three along with state rivals Ole Miss and Mississippi State. According to the three are very closely bunched with the Bulldogs (#37) ahead of both the Rebels (#42) and Gators (#44). It makes Saturday's game even more important for the Gators and will almost certainly add significance to the Feb. 20 game at Ole Miss.

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