Some people are predicting the worst, but UF guard Nick Calathes is confident the Gators can still make the Tourney.
GAINESVILLE -- Dirty Dancing conjecture, anyone? Oh, I thought so.
OK, it has already been established that we think the basketball team's current magic number to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament stands at three wins. The whole magic number thing started about three weeks ago, before the Gators lost four of their last six games, before the Gators lost to the worst team in the league and before the Gators lost their first game at home.
Now comes along this prediction by the ESPN predictor guy. As it stands right now, he says the Gators are one of the first four teams to be left out of the Tournament, giving the Southeastern Conference just four teams in the field of 64. The four SEC teams in the Tournament, according to ESPN, are LSU, South Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky. I've got to agree with that projection for now.
(Keep reading to vote in the poll.)
UF guard Nick Calathes doesn't know much about Tournament projections but he still has confidence in his team. He told reporters on Monday that he thinks the Gators will make the Big Dance. Some papers will write that Calathes "predicted" a spot in the Tournament, but what he said was really akin to a show of quiet confidence from Florida's best player.
"I'm looking at it like we're going to make the Tournament and I think that we will," Calathes said. "I think we will definitely make the Tournament."
Florida (21-8, 8-6 SEC) hosts Kentucky (19-10, 8-6) in the season finale on Sunday. Both teams are currently tied for second in the SEC East behind South Carolina (20-7, 9-5) and Tennessee (18-10, 9-5), which are tied for first. Kentucky lost to LSU on Sunday. Both Florida and Kentucky obviously need to win the season finale to strengthen their chances of receiving at-large bids. But let's not get too ahead of ourselves.
The Gators play at Mississippi State (17-12, 7-7) on Wednesday and UF needs a road win more than ever. Winning in Starkville, Miss., will be no easy task considering UF has lost four straight away from the O'Connell Center. Kentucky's Wednesday night game is a little easier. The Wildcats host Georgia, which only has two conference wins this season (Florida and Vanderbilt).