Florida has not had a great season without head coach Billy Donovan. This year they are listed at 12/1 to win the SEC tournament. This is somewhat surprising since they finished the year at 9-9 in league play and 18-13 overall. That was good for 8th in the league.
Let’s take a look at the standings:
- Texas A&M (13-5)
- Kentucky (13-5)
- South Carolina (11-7)
- Vanderbilt (11-7)
- LSU (11-7)
- Ole Miss (10-8)
- Georgia (10-8)
- Florida (9-9)
- Arkansas (9-9)
However the odds show a different order of where teams stand in terms of chances to win the conference tournament. Let’s take a look:
- Kentucky +125
- Texas A&M +275
- Vanderbilt +350
- South Carolina +900
- Florida +1200
- LSU +1200
- Georgia +4000
- Arkansas +4800
- Ole Miss +5000
So, is it just because Florida has a history of success that they are the 5th best team in terms of odds, yet the 8th best team in terms of record? Or do the odds makers think this team was playing better to finish the season and can actually do something come tournament time.
I hope so, but I wouldn’t be counting on it.
The last few years the Gators were 20/1, even money, even money, 7/1, and 2/1 to win the tournament. Unfortunately only in 2014 did they actually bring home the title, but they did finish as runners-up in 2011 and 2013.
But, this is a new year. Donovan is gone to the NBA. Can Michael White capture some of that March Magic that we have had in years past and lead this team on a tournament run? They are going to have to win it or else there is no chance they will be playing in the Big Dance.
I don’t love our chances. This team is really heading the wrong direction in losing four of their last five games. Granted the losses were to Kentucky, LSU, Vanderbilt, and South Carolina but most of those games we weren’t even really in the game.
One thing this team does have is balance. Dorian Finney-Smith is averaging 15 ppg but then John Egbunu, KeVaughn Allen, Devin Robinson, and Kasey Hill all put up between eight and 11.5 points per game. The balanced attack is going to be needed when this team will be playing on back-to-backs all the way from their opening game to the championship. Maybe that depth will be their saving grace, but more than likely their lack of a star player will be their doom.
I just can’t see Florida winning the SEC. I think this tournament belongs to Kentucky. Calipari has his team improving and they are loaded with talent. There aren’t many teams that can compete with them on a neutral floor as most of their losses this season have come in tough games on the road.
We will give our favorites to win the tournament after the brackets are set. When you look at the amounts bet on March Madness you can see the public influences these lines and there might be plenty of opportunity for us to take advantage.