Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida Gators edge into NCAA Tournament, face BYU

GAINESVILLE — It was a long, restless 48 hours for the Florida men's basketball team after its loss in the SEC tournament quarterfinals, but on Sunday night the Gators' roller-coaster season was capped off with an invitation to the NCAA Tournament.

No. 10-seeded Florida (21-12) plays seventh-seeded BYU (29-5) on Thursday in the West Region in Oklahoma City.

It is the Gators' first NCAA Tournament appearance since winning the national title in 2007.

"We're very, very excited, and grateful for the opportunity," coach Billy Donovan said. "I'm most excited for our players having a chance to experience this. For most of them this is something they haven't been through yet. They've worked so hard from Day 1, and it's great to see them rewarded."

The selection shocked many analysts and tournament prognosticators. After Houston upset UTEP in the Conference USA tournament championship game Saturday, and Mississippi State and Minnesota advanced to their respective conference tournament finals, it seemed the Gators would be the odd team out.

Florida played a much tougher nonconference schedule this season than it has in the past, but lost six of its last 10 games.

"When the committee gets together and starts to evaluate these teams, and it gets to the point where you start to try to eliminate teams, I think clearly the strength of the nonconference schedule, the willingness to go out and try to play people, and the ability to win some of those games, at the end of the day can differentiate you from the other five or six or two handfuls of teams that may have been under strong consideration for the last couple of spots," CBS analyst Clark Kellogg said. "So surely, I would think that factors in. It certainly would if I was a committee member and I was looking at Florida, Mississippi State and Virginia Tech and Illinois and those teams we felt were in those final discussions for at-large considerations, I would think that had to help Florida.

Now that they're in, the Gators believe they have something to prove.

"It was a stressful 48 hours not knowing it we were in or out," junior forward Chandler Parsons said. "We're really excited to be a part of it. For most of us it's our first experience with the NCAA Tournament. We don't just want to go and play one game. We want to prove we're deserving of being there."

Antonya English can be reached at

Florida vs. BYU

When/where: 12:20 p.m. Thursday; Oklahoma City, West Region

Ticket information: Online at, or call (352) 375-4683, ext. 6800. Cost is $68 per session, for UF games only.

Florida Gators edge into NCAA Tournament, face BYU 03/14/10 [Last modified: Monday, March 15, 2010 8:25am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. FSU rallies to win ACC baseball tournament


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Cheered up by Florida State teammates after an error-prone moment, Drew Mendoza repaid his team with two bigger moments that helped the Seminoles hoist another trophy.

    Florida State’s baseball team celebrates its ACC baseball tournament championship after the Seminoles rally to defeat North Carolina 7-3 in the final.
  2. Rays at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. Monday, Arlington, Texas

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Rangers

    8:05, Globe Life Park, Arlington, Texas

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Erasmo Ramirez #30 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  3. Stanley Cup final preview: Don't count out Predators


    Either way, this Stanley Cup final is going to be historic.

    Nashville players celebrate after beating the Ducks in the Western Conference final to advance to the Stanley Cup final, where they meet the Penguins. [Associated Press]
  4. Weather issues slow Coca-Cola 600

    Auto racing

    CONCORD, N.C. — The longest race of the NASCAR season got even longer Sunday night.

    THE LEADER: Sebastian Vettel extends his points lead in Formula One after winning the Monaco Grand Prix.
  5. Rays blow lead, rally, blow lead, rally again to beat Twins in 15 (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — The Rays sure made it interesting Sunday, taking an early lead, watching their beleaguered bullpen blow it, rallying to tie in the ninth, battling the Twins to take a lead in the 14th then giving it up again.

    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 28: Evan Longoria #3 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates scoring a run against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on May 28, 2017 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) 700010990