The Back Nine: UF has work ahead


Florida will have to fight for the postseason (Aaron E. Daye/Staff photographer)
Florida will have to fight for the postseason (Aaron E. Daye/Staff photographer)

The Back Nine prepares for rainy Nashville where there is still work to be done for the Gator basketball team. Haven’t we seen this script before?

10. Geez, is it me or is every Gator game the same game? Especially lately. Coming into the last four games, I said Florida had to go 2-2 to be a lock for the NCAA Tournament and the Gators went 1-3. In all four games, they fell into a deep hole. In one of them, they not only fought back but cruised to a win. In the other two, they fought back but couldn’t make the plays down the stretch. It goes back to what I was saying when I thought they were done after the South Carolina loss — fatigue is an issue. And this is where you say that if Ray Shipman had played more than nine minutes Sunday maybe there wouldn’t be so much fatigue. It’s a good point, but Shipman’s ball-handling skills aren’t good enough to play a lot of minutes.

11. Plus, Kentucky wasn’t going to lose that game on Senior Day. At home. We’ve seen this before from the Wildcats, how they almost always seem to play just good enough to win. The Back Nine was asked to be part of a panel by The Tennessean to vote on a myriad of hoops subjects, and I will tell you this — I changed my vote for worst SEC ref after the game. I’m not saying who I voted for, I’m just saying.

12. At any rate, here the Gators are in the same position as last year, probably needing two wins in the SEC Tournament to punch their Big Dance card. The difference is that this team is better than last year’s. Although I expect the Auburn game to go down to the wire because, well, almost all of them do. I have no doubt that Florida is good enough to be in the NCAA Tournament especially with the soft bubble that exists this year. But the best 65 don’t get in. As much as the system is better than the BCS, there are still flaws. Expansion on the horizon.

Steve Spurrier (shown in a 2005 photo) is a well-known golf enthusiast. (Alex C. Hicks Jr./Spartanburg, S.C. Herald-Journal)
Steve Spurrier (shown in a 2005 photo) is a well-known golf enthusiast. (Alex C. Hicks Jr./Spartanburg, S.C. Herald-Journal)

13. Played golf with South Carolina’s ball coach on Monday and I can tell you he’s raring to go and isn’t going to stop coaching anytime soon. “I work out more than I did 20 years ago,” he said. He also made four birdies, three from off the green. Yes, he got into my pocket. He was talking about how he picked up The Gainesville Sun Monday and saw the men’s and women’s tennis team won and baseball won and softball won. Kind of made him nostalgic, I think, for the days when he was part of an all-around excellent program.

14. Congrats to the UF baseball team for going into the lion’s den and coming away with two wins in three games. Kevin O’Sullivan has it going with the baseball program. He has the pitching and depth to make a run at Omaha again this year, and with his freshman class there’s no reason to think it’s not going to keep going into the future.

Camilo Villegas basks in his third PGA Tour victory (AP photo)
Camilo Villegas basks in his third PGA Tour victory (AP photo)

15. And a tip of the visor to my man Camilo Villegas for running away at the Honda. The knock on Villegas is that he has struggled to finish off tournaments but he certainly finished off this one. Maybe it’s a sign of things to come. The PGA Tour needs its young stars to come through as long as Tiger Woods is absent.

16. With all these free agents and trades and with the draft coming up, you kind of just want to sit back and wait to see what each roster looks like in August in the NFL. It goes back to my experience at the Combine talking to guys who cover the league. It was more evidence that the NFL is a business and college football in fun. It’s just the way it is.

17. In order, here’s how I would rank the importance of spring football for the SEC teams — 1. Georgia; 2. LSU; 3. Florida; 4. Tennessee; 5. Mississippi; 6. Mississippi State; 7. Kentucky; 8. Auburn; 9. Alabama; 10. Arkansas; 11. South Carolina; 12. Vanderbilt. Georgia is No. 1 because of so many new coaches and breaking in a brand new quarterback. Have fun with your own rankings.

18. The iPod will be used and abused in Nashville, and here are my latest downloads — “Here It Goes Again” by OK Go, “Ready to Go” by First Things First and for the old-school rockers “Heat of the Moment” by Asia. Enjoy.

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at You can listen to The Pat Dooley Show weekdays from 4-6 p.m. on 104.9 FM. And follow at


  1. The basketball team isn’t a BAD team, they just play bad baskerball. Our guards spend as much time on the floor as any body I’ve ever seen–they play out of control. Hurts the team! Our bigs can’t seem to make a basket when they are shooting from over the basket–from VERY close in. AND we play’ed very, very poor zone against the Wildcats (a very good team that won’t look the same after the draft). Not enough bodies to play man all the time, but we play poor zone. I love’m but!!!!

  2. We have to accept this team is probably mediocre at best, but capable with determination and grit, to sometimes be able to beat better teams. Why? No real go-to-guy….you know, the type of player many good and a few not so good teams have. The kind of player who could go the length of the court in crunch time and either finish with a layup, or stop on a dime for a jump shot, or even kick it out to somebody unguarded. Somebody the other team fears. Parsons could be that guy but he plays too soft and he appears to fear banging around.

  3. Don’t see why Shipman couldn’t have played more minutes this season, ball-handling skills or not. He is shooting at least as well as Walker and Boynton are right now, and could’ve played the 2 more, giving them some rest, so they would be better shooters down the stretch. Plus, Shipman is a better defender than Walker, and maybe Boynton.

  4. Try Cellophane or David Bowie by Big Sky. All thought they are several years old, both are interesting takes on dealing with the music industry. All though, you probably already know these songs since I think you tend to support local musicians.
    Also, what’s the date of the golf tourney this year?

  5. I agree — Pat can you write something dispelling this darn – Gators always lose their last 3 or 4 games going into the tourey thing — its because the SEC backloads our schedule with TENN, Vandy and UK down the stretch every year. Duke could finish 0-3 against that stretch for heavens sake. Something has to give on the SEC scheduling UF so tough down the stretch – its costing us NCAA appearances which costs us recruits. I still think if Patterson had come to UF -the last 2 teams would have been Sweet 16 teams at least. If we can just sign Knight – we should be a sweet 16 squad next year for sure. Come on Billy – get it done baby!!