GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida basketball coach Mike White seemed to appreciate analyst Seth Davis’ dig at the Gators during the live selection show on TBS on Sunday night.
As it was revealed that the No. 6-seeded Gators will play the winner of No. 11 seeds St. Bonaventure and UCLA, who meet in the First Four on Tuesday night, Davis quickly declared that either of those teams will beat Florida.
Davis made a similar call last year before the Gators’ opening game with East Tennessee State. Of course, that Florida team rolled all the way to the Elite 8.
“I was appreciative of Seth. He helped us last year. We’ll use it again,” White said Monday. “Who knows how much of a factor it will be with these guys. These guys are hard to tick off. My guys, I’m not sure I’ve found the button that produces a bunch of edge, but we’ll throw it at the wall, for sure.”
Florida (20-12) heads into the NCAA Tournament on the heels of a deflating 80-72 loss to Arkansas in the SEC quarterfinals. Prior to that, the Gators had posted three straight impressive wins over fellow NCAA tourney teams Auburn, Alabama and Kentucky.
White flew back separately from the SEC Tournament and was back in his office Sunday watching the selection show while the team was remained stuck in St. Louis until Sunday night. The players learned their tournament draw just before the plane took off, he said.
“I was able to call the staff thinking that I was letting them know. I was in the office, watching it. I came back the day before, our guys were stuck up there, in St. Louis, had a nice spring break up in St. Louis fighting the cold weather,” White said. “But I guess somebody on the plane had had it right before they took off, it had hit the internet, so they were aware literally as they were taking off that we play the winner of these two teams.”
UCLA (21-11) and St. Bonaventure (25-7) were two of the last four teams into the 68-team field, and thus start Tuesday night in Dayton, Ohio, in the First Four before the winner faces the Gators on Thursday night in Dallas.
Ultimately, White said, he understands where Davis or others are coming from in targeting the Gators as a potential upset pick.
“Either team is going to be a really tough test for us, of course, and I don’t disagree with these national guys that come out and say, ‘I’m picking anybody over the Gators.’ I don’t blame them,” he said. “We’ve been average and we’ve been really good. We’re going to have to be really good to beat one of these teams.”