Florida falls to Mississippi State 75-69 in SEC quarterfinals
At the beginning of the week, Florida coach Billy Donovan said he couldn’t concern himself with thoughts about the NCAA Tournament because outside of winning, everything else was out of the Gators’ control.
On Friday night, the Gators had an opportunity to seize control of their NCAA fate and ensure themselves a spot in the tournament with a victory in the quarterfinals of the SEC men’s basketball tournament.
But that opportunity slipped away when Mississippi State avenged an earlier season loss with a 75-69 win over Florida.
Now, the Gators (21-12) must sit, hope and wait until Selection Sunday.
“We really don’t know,’’ sophomore guard Erving Walker said. “We’re just keeping our fingers crossed, and hopefully we’ll hear our name on Sunday.’’
Florida, which is last in the SEC in 3-point defense, had no answer for the Bulldogs from beyond the arc. Mississippi State (22-12) was 7-of-11 from 3-point range in the first half, and shot 50 percent from beyond the arc in the game.
As for the NCAA Tournament?
“I have no idea,’’ Donovan said. “I think we’ve played a very, very competitive schedule. We’ve had some really, really good quality wins. If that’s good enough, then so be it.’’
For now, they wait, and ponder what might have been.
“We didn’t come out hard enough,’’ freshman guard Kenny Boynton said. “All of us knew what was at stake. Now we just have to wait.’’