by Pat Dooley
Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all. I forgot to bring something green to wear but, then again, I’m Irish every day. Time for the four from the floor:
1. There’s a lot of buzz in Nashville that Tennessee is going to make the field. Jerry Palm of CBSsports.com has the Vols in, Joe Lunardi does not. He has them as his first team out. Tennessee may end up benefitting from the lack of mid-major conferences producing conference champs other than the team that would have been in anyway. We’ll see tonight but if Tennessee gets in we might see both the Vols and Ole Miss in Dayton for the First Four.
2. I think Florida is locked into a three seed. Even if the Gators win today in the SEC Tournament final, I don’t think they’ll jump to a two seed. Then again, Florida would have won both the regular season and conference tournament and played a tough schedule (25th in strength of schedule). And the teams ranked below them in RPI (Nos. 8-12) all lost in their conference tournament.
3. The state of Florida will have three teams in the tournament with Miami and Florida Gulf Coast also in. Think about this — the state of Texas will have no teams in the tournament. Neither will Alabama for the third time in the last seven years. Alabama has the last four national champions in football, but basketball is another story. I felt bad for Anthony Grant Saturday night because he’s had his team right on the cusp the last couple of years only to come up empty.
4. One of my pet peeves is the stat about coaches winning close games. Florida was 0-5 this year in games decided by less than five points. But does anyone think the two games against Alabama were not close games? If you’re up four points with a minute to play and the other team starts fouling and you win by seven, that’s not considered a close game. Or if you make a three at the buzzer to lose by five, that is considered a close game. To me, any game that you could still win or lose in the last three minutes is a close game. The final score isn’t always the true reflection of how close a game was during crunch time.