How can Florida Gators make NCAA field? Experts say they need at least 2 SEC tourney wins

David Whitley
Gator Sports

College basketball’s regular season is over, and now people are wondering which is longer — the new Batman movie or Florida’s odds of making the NCAA Tournament.

For a clear answer, you need to take the Gators' NET ranking, subtract their Quad 1 wins and multiply it by the amount of change in Joe Lunardi’s right pocket.

He’s ESPN’s resident guru, not to be confused with Jerry Palm, Ken Pomeroy or other NCAA number crunchers who could tell you Longwood University’s free-throw percentage off the top of their heads.

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With all due respect to those experts, the best answer to the Florida question comes from Lloyd Christmas.

He was one of the lovably dimwitted brothers in “Dumb & Dumber.” With his bowl haircut and gap-toothed smile, Lloyd asked highfalutin Mary Swanson what the chances were that they’d end up together.

“Not good,” she said.

“You mean, not good like one out of a hundred?” Lloyd asked.

“I’d say more like one out a million,” she replied.

Long pause.

“So you’re telling me there’s a chance?” Lloyd said. “YEAH!”

Every expert, non-expert and disinterested bystander I can find agrees the Gators will have to win at least two games in the SEC Tournament to make the NCAA Tournament.

Pomeroy gives them a 51.4% chance of beating Texas A&M on Thursday. The Gators then likely would face No. 5 Auburn on Friday, and the KenPom odds on that are 12.1%.

Not good.

Florida upset the Tigers 63-62 three weeks ago. The Gators have done some shocking things this year (losing to Texas Southern, edging Vandy with 9-0 run in the last 44 seconds), but beating Auburn again has a very Lloyd Christmas feel to it. ... 

Stud of the week: Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods won the PGA Tour’s Player Impact Program, which awards bonuses based on a player’s media impact. First place — $8 million. Not bad considering Woods was injured and didn’t play a single PGA round in 2021.

Honorable Mention: Longwood U. The Lancers won the Big South Conference tournament Sunday afternoon to earn their first NCAA Tournament bid. Later that day, the school’s women’s team did the same.

Maybe the Gators should look into joining the Big South.

Dud of the Week: Russia. There are about a million reasons for that, but let’s go with authorities arresting and detaining WNBA star Brittney Griner when they allegedly found hashish oil in her suitcase.

Sure, Griner might have broken the law. But if Russia arrested all its athletes who doped, Siberia would need about 100 new prison camps. ...

Speaking of the Ukrainian invasion, the International Cat Federation has banned Russian cats from international competitions. No, it’s not fair to cats who’ve trained their entire lives for a chance to win a gold medal, but some things are bigger than sports. ...

Hand update: Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett’s hands measured 8½ inches at the NFL Combine. That’s smaller than any current NFL quarterback, though the small mitts didn’t stop him from throwing 42 TD passes last season.

Liberty quarterback Malik Willis shows heart 

After being given a suitcase full of Nike swag at the NFL Combine, Liberty quarterback Malik Willis saw a homeless woman outside the Indianapolis Convention Center and shared his bounty.

“I was like, ‘Shoot, I don’t have any money. But I can give you a couple of shirts,’” he said.

Willis was asked at a media interview session if he should be the first QB drafted. “I don’t make those decisions … I hate that for me,” he said.

I don’t know what his hand size is, but Willis sure sounds like winner. ...

Dumb and Dumber redux: What was the bigger injustice – Wilt Chamberlain averaging 50.4 points and 25.7 rebounds a game and not winning the 1962 MVP award (Bill Russell played better defense), or Jim Carrey not even being nominated for the 1994 Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Lloyd Christmas? ...

MLB lockout update: Who cares?...

UF postseason spoiler alert: Lloyd Christmas did not end up with Mary Swanson, but he did get a bid to the NIT tournament. ...

PGA cash part II: Tiger earned $8 million last year and didn’t hit a shot. Jack Nicklaus earned $5.73 million in his career and won 18 majors. Of course, gas was only $1.69 a gallon back then. ...

My hands are 9½ inches. Sadly, that has not stopped me from making 3,492 typos in my career. ...

Batman redux: To help answer our opening question, “The Batman” is 176 minutes long. If you’re a male older than 60 and buy a large drink before going in, KenPom says there’s a 98.7% chance you’ll need a bathroom break before the movie ends. ...

That’s about all the space we have for this week’s Whitley’s Believe It or Not. Until next time, if you’re facing a challenge, try to think like the Ukrainians, the Longwood Lancers and Lloyd Christmas.

No matter the odds, you’ve always got a chance.

David Whitley is The Gainesville Sun's sports columnist. Contact him at dwhitley@gannett.com. And follow him on Twitter: @DavidEWhitley