Big game in Gainesville
Posted on: February 23, 2010 3:31 pm
Billy Donovan doesn't need to beat Tennessee to prove he can edge Bruce Pearl.
The Florida coach has two national championship rings.
His 1-8 record against Pearl is secondary to that.
And yet tonight's tilt with the Vols is still huge because it's the first of a four-game stretch that'll likely determine their NCAA tournament fate. The UT game will be followed by a road game at Georgia (Saturday), a home game against Vanderbilt (March 2) and a road game at Kentucky (March 7). So 3-1 in this stretch is optimistic, 2-2 is reasonable and anything less will likely have the Gators on the verge of NIT reservations for the third consecutive season.
Right now, Florida is 19-8 overall, 8-4 in the SEC.
But they're far from safe with an RPI in the 50s.
So what's important isn't to see whether Donovan can improve to 2-8 against Pearl.
What's important is to see whether Florida can get this four-game stretch off to a good start.