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)

Gators' Billy Donovan wants longer break before NCAA Tournament

Florida is expected to start the NCAA Tournament in Orlando, which begins on a Thursday. If the Gators advance to the SEC tournament on Sunday, that means a very short turnaround.


Florida is expected to start the NCAA Tournament in Orlando, which begins on a Thursday. If the Gators advance to the SEC tournament on Sunday, that means a very short turnaround.


Billy Donovan is not going to ask his Gators to tank in the SEC tournament that begins Wednesday, and if Florida can win it all he most certainly wants that. But his longstanding concerns about the timing of conference tournaments and the start of NCAA play resurfaced this week.

Florida is expected to start the NCAA Tournament next week in Orlando, which begins on a Thursday. If the Gators advance to the SEC tournament final on Sunday, that means a very short turnaround.

"I think the one thing the NCAA has to look at is any conference that's playing their conference tournament and it goes into Sunday, those teams, in my opinion, should not play in the NCAA Tournament until Friday," he said. "Because you have to go up there and you have to have a mandatory opening practice on a Wednesday if you're playing Thursday; that's not right for those kind of teams, where you've got a team that all of sudden does a heck of a job, they get all the way to Sunday, they win a championship, maybe they miss Selection Sunday, they've got to travel back, they get back on campus on Sunday, they've got to try to recuperate after playing three straight games and they're on a plane Tuesday night going into a place, Wednesday practice, Thursday playing, that's a lot in my opinion.

"Now, it doesn't always work out that way; sometimes it does. That's the only thing I think the NCAA … sometimes they can't do anything about it. But that would be one thing I would really take a hard look at. And I think our league should look at it, too. Are we better off backing up our conference tournament and ending it on Saturday?"

Donovan has made this argument in the past, and though he has taking some criticism from the national media, he insisted it's not about backing away from the potential challenge the Gators may face.

"If we play Sunday and we've got to come back and play in the NCAA Tournament on Thursday, that's the way it is," he said. "We're going to go out and whatever is in front of us, we're going to have to handle. We're not going to make excuses for anything. We're going to basically focus on what is in front of us, and what is in front of us right now is playing on Friday. That's the only thing that matters. Everything else kind of goes by the wayside.

"And after this weekend is over with, wherever we get sent to or whoever we're playing, we'll have to get ready to line up and play on that day whenever it is."

FRAZIER'S BIG WEEK: Florida G Michael Frazier turned 20 Saturday, then capped off the best week of his career by being named the co-SEC player of the week for the final week of the regular season, sharing the honor with Tennessee's Jarnell Stokes. The sophomore from Tampa made 11 3-pointers against South Carolina, an SEC and overall UF record. He scored 37 in that game, tied for the most by a Gator since Eugene "the Dunking Machine'' McDowell scored 40 on Dec. 21, 1982.

STILL THE 1: Florida remained No. 1 in the AP and USA Today Coaches poll — the final regular season polls of the season —marking the first time the Gators have ended the regular season ranked No. 1.

Antonya English can be reached at

Gators' Billy Donovan wants longer break before NCAA Tournament 03/10/14 [Last modified: Monday, March 10, 2014 8:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Former Buc Mike Glennon says right things about Bears QB situation


    Mike Glennon's go-to line about being recognized around town since becoming a Bear worked as well as ever, producing laughs.

    Quarterback Mike Glennon, shown last season with the Bucs before signing in the offseason with the Bears, is showing good humor about a looming competition in Chicago. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  2. Tampa Bay Super Bowls: A brief history and some predictions for 2021


    At last, Tampa will host a Super Bowl again. It used to be that the Cigar City would host one a decade, but by the time February 2021 rolls around, it will have been 12 years since the epic showdown between the Steelers and Cardinals. Because it has been awhile, let's revisit those past Super Bowls while also peering …

    Santonio Holmes hauls in the game-winning touchdown in the Steelers' 27-23 Super Bowl XLIII victory over the Cardinals in 2009, the last time Tampa hosted a Super Bowl. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  3. Rays bats go silent in second straight loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Sure, Alex Cobb was to blame for the Rays' 4-0 loss on Tuesday.

    Derek Norris strikes out with the bases loaded as the Rays blow a golden opportunity in the seventh inning.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb made mistakes on back-to-back pitches to the first two Angels hitters Tuesday, allowing homers to Cameron Maybin and Mike Trout, but otherwise gave the Rays another solid outing, working into the eighth and scattering seven hits.

  5. Rays journal: Brad Miller won't return from DL when eligible

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — 2B Brad Miller (left abdominal strain) will not return from the 10-day disabled list Friday as he hoped. While he took ground balls Tuesday, he has yet to resume running.

    Rays second baseman Brad Miller, left, with infielder Tim Beckham, says he’s letting his left abdominal strain “cool down” before testing it by running.