Pitino says Gators are national title sleepers


Louisville coach Rick Pitino knows more about the Gators than most coaches outside the Southeastern Conference.

Pitino’s son, Richard, is a second-year assistant at UF. And Pitino also has served as a mentor for Florida coach Billy Donovan since Donovan ran the point for the Pitino-coached Providence Friars in 1987.

In an interview Tuesday morning with ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd, Pitino said he wouldn’t be surprised if the No. 12 Gators made a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.

“Well, I’m a little biased, but everybody overlooks Florida,” Pitino told Cowherd. “Obviously Billy Donovan played for me, but I think Florida’s the type of team with three seniors in the front court with a very quick backcourt. … They’re a team that could beat anyone on a given night.”

Pitino even gave Florida a shot to win a national title.

“Nobody talks about them as a potential national champion,” Pitino said. “But they have the experience in their head coach, they have the experience in the frontcourt, the returning backcourt.”

Click here to listen to the ESPN Radio interview.


  1. It would be great, but I’d settle to just see them play a solid 40 minutes each game and we’ll see where that takes them.
    Love this team and their unselfish play. It’s also great that Coach Donovan was FINALLY given the recognition he deserves from his peers.
    Best of luck and as always……Go Gators!

  2. We have all the pieces of a championship squad. Well, all except a 3-point specialist. If the boys stay focused, I think they could go deep in the tournament. Of course, this team could have done it years ago, but they’ve had some mental block for the last three years that causes them to crumble in the most crucial moments. This year, they may have exorcised the demon. I guess we’ll see…

  3. The nice thing about this team is that any of them can get hot from 3 point range on any given night. That said, I’ve had a feeling if they give it all they have for 40 minutes, there’s no telling how deep they can go. I’m hoping all the way. Between, them and the baseball team, every Gator fan ought to be enjoying it right now. Question….has any college ever won the basketball and baseball championships in the same year? Now, wouldn’t that drive the haters crazy?

  4. you know I just love this team… the way they hustle.. the level of toughness they’re beginning to show.. Im a Gator thru & thru… but when I look at the moments of scoring droughts.. the turnovers (which have been fewer lately) , it ‘s just hard to drink the cool aid..
    but, boy I love this team & after all they’ve been through,I think they have a chance.. And thats all anyone can ask for..
    coach em up Billy.. Git er done Gators

  5. They have a good shot if Walker distributes the ball around. That kid will either help them or KILL them. I know, he’s their leading scorer, but I’m not sure if he’s the brightest kid in the class. Without looking at the stats, I’d have to guess that he’s taken the most shots to put him in that leading scorer role. Hopefully he’ll have his crap together for the big dance.

  6. My Final Four Recipe

    1. True Point Guard – Erving Walker
    2. True Center – Vernon Macklin
    3. 80 ppg – Gators were at 70ppg for most of the season, but they are showing signs of scoring 80+ppg down the stretch.
    4. 2-3 NBA draft picks or 3-4 Jr./Sr. starters. A case could be made that the Gators have both the draft picks and the upperclassmen.

    The Gators have what it takes to get to the Final Four, but will they get there? Only time will tell-

  7. First, forget about the SEC tourney. Its only purpose is to lighten the wallets of UK fans. We’ve established our bona fides going 13-3 over the regular season and that will make our seeding in the NCAAs. The Gators match up physically with our big experienced front line plus two big guys off the bench. Guard play could be more consistant but Boynton is shooting with much more confidence and Walker never lacks it. A bit thin with only wilbekin off the bench. I think the SEC is seriously underrated as a conference by the talking heads who all played in the ACC, Big Ten or Big East.