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Gators need five more wins to insure Tournament berth

GAINESVILLE -- How many more games does the Florida men's basketball team need to win to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament? I'm predicting the magic number is five.

Seven games remain of the men's basketball season and Florida (19-5, 6-3) is locked in a four-way tie for first place in the SEC East with Tennessee (15-8, 6-3), South Carolina (17-5, 6-3) and Kentucky (17-7, 6-3). On Monday, ESPN projected five teams from the SEC to make the NCAA Tournament: the four teams currently tied for first in the East and LSU (20-4, 8-1) from the SEC West. Nothing is guaranteed, however, and I expect Florida needs five more regular-season wins to insure a place in the NCAA Tournament. It will not be easy.

Florida plays at Georgia on Saturday and hosts Alabama and Vanderbilt next week. The Gators should win these three games. Georgia hasn't won a game since December and Alabama is 3-6 in the league and playing without guard Ronald Steele, who quit the team. Vanderbilt lost to Florida 94-69 at home on Jan.25.   

Assuming Florida defeats Georgia, Alabama and Vanderbilt, that leaves the Gators needing two wins with four difficult contests remaining: at LSU (Feb.24), Tennessee at home (March 1), at Mississippi State (March 4) and Kentucky at home (March 7).

In case anyone was wondering, Florida's RPI, according to realtimeRPI.com, is 36. The Gators are 1-3 against teams with an RPI in the top 30 and 5-5 against teams with an RPI in the top 100. It's not exactly a strong resume.

Florida's best non-conference win came way back on Nov.25 with an 86-84 victory against Washington. Washington currently has an RPI of 19. Syracuse, which currently has an RPI of 22, defeated Florida 89-83. Florida State (RPI 20) defeated Florida 57-55. Tennessee (RPI 24) defeated Florida 79-63.



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...or we can win the SEC / make a strong run to the finals...

It is getting harder and harder to watch the Gator basketball team. Billy has done a poor job in recruiting the past few seasons and it is starting to show. We have no inside presence (no size, no center, no muscle) and the guys waiting in the wings (Kadji and Vargas) are skinnier than Parsons. I truly believe that Dan Werner will go down as one of the most overrated recruits in Florida history (football included).

CP, agreed 100% on Dan Werner. I think you're totally out of line as far as recruiting and the job Billy's done. I also think you'll be changing your tune about Billy's recruiting when you see Kenny Boynton next year. Also, let's not forget he got Calathes.

As far as the rest of the recruiting, it was impossible for him to get anyone after the 2006 title and the entire team returned. Then, after the 2007 season, we lost our STARTING SIX so we basically had to replace that entire team with freshmen and sophomores who still played well enough last year to get to the finals of the NIT. That's not to mention the fact that Billy D. LEFT and signed a contract with the Orlando Magic!

This year, we lost our best player (Speights - who is doing great in the NBA right now) and are STILL at the top of the conference and will most likely have a tournament appearance. Are we great? No. But Billy did the best job he could recruiting in the situation he's been presented. Zero reason for complaints.

There isn't much margin for error in basketball recruiting. If UF had landed Patterson we wouldn't even be having this discussion. Werner is not a bad player. Tyus is not a bad player. Parsons is not a bad player. They just lack an inside presence. They're being asked to play out of position, which is in turn not allowing them to accentuate their individual skills. Keep in mind that UF is tied for No.1 in the East right now with only eight available players. And three of those players, Kadji, Walker and Shipman, are pretty green. The good news. Kadji and Shipman have the potential to be markedly improved next season and UF only loses Walter Hodge. On paper, UF looks like a top 5 team next year.


Um, actually jo, Werner IS a bad player...

Watching Calathes reminds me of watching Dwayne Wade and the Heat in that you've got basically one all-star surrounded by sub-par talent.

Werner wouldn't start for any Big East team let alone most other SEC teams. Top 5 team next year? No chance they're preseason top 10 next year. They still will have no center or power forward.

CP, you see what I'm saying RE: your first post? Don't fret, we have Kenny B. to take pressure off Calathes next year and Deshawn Painter will be a solid 4.

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