Lunardi says no chance of Gators getting No. 2 seed in Big Dance


Florida head basketball coach Billy Donovan has his Gators poised for a high seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Aaron E. Daye/Staff photographer
Published: Wednesday, March 9, 2011 at 2:52 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 9, 2011 at 2:52 p.m.

For Florida fans wishing the Gators could move up to a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, don't get your hopes up.

According to ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi, Florida will probably remain a No. 3 seed even if it wins this weekend's Southeastern Conference Tournament.

"I don't know if the overall strength of the SEC will allow that to happen," Lunardi said if a conference call on Wednesday. "I know that you are supposed to judge a team on an individual basis, but the fact of the matter remains that the teams that Florida could beat this week would not be as strong as the teams that Syracuse could beat or Notre Dame could beat."




Florida's RPI this week, according to Jerry Palm's CollegeRPI.com, is 10 with a strength of schedule of 6. Lunardi currently has the Gators projected as a No. 3 seed in Tampa. Florida (24-6, 13-3 SEC) won eight of its last nine games to clinch just its third outright SEC title in school history.

The RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) measures a school's record as it relates to its schedule strength. Road wins are weighed more heavily than home wins. Florida finished 8-2 on the road this season, its most road wins since 1993-94.

According to RealTimeRPI.com, the SEC ranks sixth in conference RPI and is fifth-best among BCS conferences. The Pac-10 (seventh) is the only major conference with a lower RPI.

"It's unlikely (that they will move up) but I think it's relatively unimportant because if you get past your two opponents you are going to be in the mix to play the 2-3 game and you are only going to be playing marginally better competition," Lunardi said. "The 6-7s (seeds) or 10-11s that you could see in the second round, may not even be any different level because sometimes they slot in those seeds for (geographical) convenience.

"And I think another big factor will be playing close to home in Tampa. I think you would rather be a No. 3 seed in Tampa than a No. 2 seed somewhere else."

Parsons, Walker honored: Florida senior forward Chandler Parsons and point junior guard Erving Walker received more individual accolades on Wednesday. Both Walker and Parsons were named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches All-District 21 team.

Parsons, who won SEC player of the year honors, averaged 11.8 points for the Gators the regular season and is currently third in the SEC in rebounds (7.8 rpg) and seventh in assists (3.6 apg). Walker leads Florida in scoring (14.5 ppg) and is second on the team in assists (3.4 apg).

Parsons made the All-NABC first team, while Walker made the second team. The team is composed of top players from District 21, which covers the states of Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi and Alabama.

Contact Kevin Brockway at 352-374-5054 or brockwk@gvillesun.com. Also follow him at http://Twitter.com/Gatorhoops.

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