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Sorry but Gators don't deserve NCAA Tournament bid

MIAMI -- Gator Clause is down in Miami this weekend covering the Gators' baseball series against the No.8 Miami Hurricanes. Florida is 0-2 in the series and has allowed nine unearned runs. Ouch. The series finale begins at 1 p.m. today.

It's not going too good down here for coach Kevin O'Sullivan and his new team but it seems like things are even worse back in Gainesville where the Gators basketball team was out-muscled by Mississippi State on Saturday.

Florida's 10-point home loss to State dropped Florida's RPI to 61, according to RealTimeRPI.com. That's bad news for Florida's hopes of sneaking into the NCAA Tournament. At this point, the Gators might not even get a chance to defend their back-to-back national championships.

Believe it or not, if Florida beats Tennessee then the Gators still might not get into the Tournament. Now, before you send me some ridiculously nasty email for writing that, understand that Florida doesn't have one quality road win this season and a win against Tennessee will not change that.

Florida's magic number is still at 23 wins, folks. (Been my opinion for about a month now.) If Florida (21-8) can beat Kentucky in Lexington and then win a first-round game in the Southeastern Conference Tournament then that should be enough.

Florida coach Billy Donovan is at his wit's end with this team. It's not that the team is young. With two games left in the regular season, they're not young anymore. These Gators just have no size and the one big guy on the roster, Mo Speights, isn't a reliable defender.

Now, I realize it would be rather unprecedented for a 22-win SEC team to miss out on the Tournament, especially a team that's a two-time defending national champ. But what might be more unprecedented than even that is Florida's non-conference strength of schedule. It's almost as high as Miami-Dade's area code (305) ... seriously.

Seven of Florida's wins shouldn't even count. These were the victories against team's with an average RPI of 281. I don't know what's more embarrassing for Florida: That a two-time defending national champion actually scheduled teams like N.C. Central, North Florida and Charleston Southern or that Florida would actually cite wins against these teams as evidence for an NCAA Tournament bid.

Take away those seven wins and Florida is 14-8. That record still includes victories against teams like High Point, North Dakota State and Jacksonville. You know it's bad when those non-conference games are highlights.

Florida is 3-7 against teams with an RPI better than 100. Sorry, but Florida just doesn't deserve a spot in the NCAA Tournament this season. Reserve your tickets now for the NIT.

-jo-

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