Do Gators deserve NCAA Tournament bid?
As Florida prepares for this week's SEC Men's Basketball tournament, the question is being raised, what do the Gators have to do to make it into the NCAA Tournament?
And more importantly, do they even deserve a tournament bid?
Florida (20-11) is currently on a three-game losing streak, which includes a loss to last-place SEC East team Georgia nearly two weeks ago.
And yet, some league coaches are coming to the Gators’ defense. Kentucky coach John Calipari said he believes both Florida and Mississippi State should be among the 64 NCAA Tournament teams, particularly if they win one or two games this week.
ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi said the Gators must defeat Auburn in the first round on Thursday night, and may have to win a second round game to make it in. A down year among many perennial powers this season is helping the Gators.
Georgia coach Mark Fox said the Gators are tourney worthy now.
“I think Florida deserves to go,’’ Fox said. “They’ve played in one of the toughest divisions in America, they’ve got quality wins outside of league play. I think every team has a bad loss somewhere along the way (the Gators lost to Georgia two weeks ago), but Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Florida deserve to go from our league.’’
Calipari said he thinks the national perception that the SEC is a weak league this season is incorrect.
"I think we'll get five teams in, and the good news is I think teams will advance (in the NCAA Tournament),'' Calipari said. "I think this league is a good league. You go on the road, it's ridiculous to try to win games. It's hard to win at home. Let me just say this, it's hard to win in this league.''