Florida Gators, Golden Gophers Basketball and Early Bracket Projections

George BarnetteContributor IFebruary 21, 2011

GAINESVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 16: Guard Erving Walker #11 of the Florida Gators plays against the Ohio State Buckeyes November 16, 2010 at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

After a slow start to the season, the Florida Gators have distanced themselves from the pack in the SEC East.

Tied for the overall lead in the league, they have easily been the most impressive team thus far in the SEC.

Billy Donovan seems to finally getting his program back the level it enjoyed when it won back-to-back national titles in 2006 and 2007. He’s getting a balanced attack that is proving a difficult task for opponents to guard.

Erving Walker leads the team with 14.8 points per game, but gets plenty of help from Kenny Boynton, Vernon Macklin and Chandler Parsons who score about 35 points per game together.

They’re an experienced group that has been through the rigors of the SEC before and want to return the program to glory.

Despite the success though, now is not the time for the Gators to rest on their laurels.

Their final four games of the season all look to challenge their stranglehold on the standings. Home games against Georgia and Alabama along with trips to Kentucky and Vanderbilt will test the Gators.

Time to see how bad the Gators’ bite is.


Stock Up: St. John’s.

About three weeks ago, the Red Storm was the quintessential bubble team. Now, it looks like the only way it doesn’t make the NCAA tournament is if its canceled.

St. John’s has beaten Duke, Georgetown, Notre Dame, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, and Connecticut.

At this point, it looks like they may be just playing for seeding now.

Stock Down: Missouri Valley Conference.

The MVC’s showing in bracket-busters this weekend was very dissapointing. The conference did harbor some hopes to be a multiple bid league before the weekend, but after its three best teams lost in national TV games, those hopes are dashed.

I’m used to seeing this as one of the best mid-major leagues, but it is truly a down year in the Valley.

Stock Up: Cliff Ellis.

Here is a man in charge of a team that won the regular season title in the Big South last season, but was upset in the conference tournament.

His Coastal Carolina squad is dominating the regular season again, but lost its starting point guard to a torn knee ligament. Then it found out leading scorer Desmond Holloway was suspended for a violation of NCAA rules.

Ellis didn’t wallow in pity, he just got his team prepared to go out and beat North Carolina Central by 35 points. He continues to do a hell of a job with that program.

Stock Down: Minnesota.

Gopher fans are seeing why Wildcat fans ran Tubby Smith out of Kentucky.

A promising season is now on the verge of disaster as the Gophers have lost five of their last six.

The Gophers face the real possibility of missing the dance altogether—possibly putting Smith on the hot seat. That’s something no one saw coming.


This Week’s Bracket Projections:

Last Four In: Memphis, Virginia Commonwealth, Boston College, Alabama
Last Four Out: Richmond, Butler, Colorado St, Virginia Tech

Good for Games through 2/20



1. Kansas  16. McNeese St/Morgan St Tulsa
8. Utah St  9. Old Dominion
5. Arizona  12. Alabama/Memphis Tampa
4. Connecticut  13. Princeton
6. Syracuse  11 .Nebraska Tampa
3. Florida  14. Bucknell
7. Florida St.  10. St. Mary’s Chicago
2. Purdue  15. Miami(OH)


1. Pittsburgh  16. Montana Cleveland
8. UNLV  9. Washington
5. Missouri  12. Boston College/VCU Denver
4. Wisconsin  13. Missouri St
6. Xavier  11. Minnesota Washington, D.C.
3. Villanova  14. Belmont
7. St. John’s  10. Tennessee Tulsa
2. Texas  15. Long Beach St


1. Ohio St  16.Vermont Cleveland
8. Kansas St.  9. Georgia
5. North Carolina  12. Cleveland St Washington, D.C.
4. Louisville  13. Oakland
6. Kentucky  11. Illinois Charlotte
3. Georgetown  14. Morehead St
7. George Mason  10. Marquette Denver
2. BYU  15. Florida Atlantic


1. Duke  16. Long Island/Texas Southern Charlotte
8. UCLA  9. Cincinnati
5. Texas A&M  12. UTEP Tucson
4. Vanderbilt  13. Charleston
6. Temple  11. Gonzaga Chicago
3. Notre Dame  14. Fairfield
7. West Virginia  10. Michigan St Tucson
2. San Diego St.  15. Coastal Carolina

In Graphical Form



    March Madness Living Up to Its Name

    Florida Gators Basketball logo
    Florida Gators Basketball

    March Madness Living Up to Its Name

    David Kenyon
    via Bleacher Report

    🚨 Check Your Bracket Here 🚨

    Florida Gators Basketball logo
    Florida Gators Basketball

    🚨 Check Your Bracket Here 🚨

    Bleacher Report Bracket Challenge
    via Bleacher Report Bracket Challenge

    March Madness All-Tourney Team Through Round 2

    Florida Gators Basketball logo
    Florida Gators Basketball

    March Madness All-Tourney Team Through Round 2

    C.J. Moore
    via Bleacher Report

    Rep the Gators Year Round with New 🔥 Gear

    Florida Gators Basketball logo
    Florida Gators Basketball

    Rep the Gators Year Round with New 🔥 Gear

    via Fanatics