6:50pm, TBS, at Tampa, FL.
Florida begins the NCAA Tournament today against 15 seeded UC-Santa Barbara. The Gauchos are 18-13 and made the tournament by winning the Big West tournament. They were seeded fifth in the tournament and upset top seeded Long Beach State.
Orlando Johnson and his 21.1 ppg will be UCSB's biggest and best hope for an upset by the Gauchos. Their next best hope is that UF plays down to their opponents.
One of the reasons why we are confident, but not as confident as we should be, is that for every win over Kansas State or sweep of Vanderbilt, is a loss to UCF or Jacksonville. For much of this season, UF has waited until the second half to win games. That cannot happen in the tournament because every second that UCSB hangs around is another second they gain in confidence.
For the Gators, the usual suspects need to be the leaders. Chandler Parsons remains The Straw That Stirs The Drink, and does not need the ball in his hands to make a difference. But that doesn't mean Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker shouldn't be distributors. Last season's NCAA Tournament loss to BYU was in part due to the 16 turnovers by the previously mentioned three Gators. They have to keep UCSB from gaining extra possessions and the confidence that comes with converting those plays.