Today the No. 13 Florida Gators, who won the SEC regular season title and earned the No. 1 seed in the SEC Tournament, faced off with the Rebels of Ole Miss. Both teams played good, hard basketball all the way up to the end.
The Gators had a chance to tie the game at 65 when Casey Prather came up with a clutch steal off of an Ole Miss inbound. Coach Billy Donovan immediately used Florida’s timeout to see what they would do with the ball with only 28 seconds left in the game. After the timeout, Florida inbounded the ball to Erik Murphy, who tried to make a hook shot to tie it, but missed.
Ole Miss’ Murphy Holloway came up with the rebound and was promptly fouled. He went up to the line and barely made his first free throw. He missed the second free throw and Florida came up with the rebound. As soon as the Gators crossed half court, Mississippi fouled Scottie Wilbikin. He missed the much needed first free throw. Thereafter, he intentionally missed the second free throw. Murphy got the kick-out to Kenny Boynton, who quickly threw up a three that just missed as time expired. The final score was 66-63 Ole Miss.
The Rebels, who were predicted to not even make the NCAA Tournament, lock up a spot in “The Big Dance” with this win. They will likely be a lower number seed in the field of 68.
The question now is what is next for these Gators. They are predicted to be seeded in the NCAA Tournament anywhere from as high as a two see to as low as a four. I personally believe that they will end up being a three seed because coming in to today’s game, many analysts saw them as the final two seed. With this loss, they will probably drop to the second or third best three seed. A signature win of their’s is one against the same Ole Miss Rebels earlier in the season. The Gators also have some key losses that could hold them back, such as one to a very lackluster Missouri Tigers team and another to Kentucky in the final game of the regular season. In this game, the Wildcats were without star freshman Nerlens Noel, who is out for the rest of the season with an ACL tear.
Not all hopes should be lost for the Florida Gators as they are still seen as favorites to make the Final Four, and possibly even win it all. I personally see them winning it all as a basketball analyst and putting aside my bias.
Miami is arguably the biggest surprise of the basketball season, aside from Gonzaga. The Hurricanes was blindsided by most analysts at the beginning of the season and they were not even slated to make the tournament. They started to receive notice of their accomplishments after they defeated the then No. 1 Duke Blue Devils. After winning the ACC Championship today, they should be seen as a No. 1 or 2 team in the tournament.
The Florida Gators were selected as the three seed in the South Region.
The Miami Hurricanes were selected as the two seed in the East Region.
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