SEC: Gators Seek First-Ever No. 1 Seed

By David Scott - March 11, 2007


Florida is playing in its fourth straight SEC title game and looking for its third straight SEC title - or as Joakim Noah is fond of saying, "We're playing for jewelry."

The Gators are also likely playing for a No. 1 seed overall in the tournament. It would be the first 1-seed in the history of the program. Interesting to note that the Gators made their NCAA Tournament debut 20 years ago on March 13 with a win over NC State. That season, the Gators went to the Sweet 16 where they were knocked out by Syracuse in the Meadowlands.

. . . The Arkansas-Florida series is tied 9-9 overall and the Gators won the regular season meeting 79-72 in Gainesville on Jan. 9. They met last year in the SEC Tourney when the Gators won 74-71 in the quarterfinals.

. . .This is also a re-match of the 2006 SEC football title game, also played in this building and won by the Gators 38-28 and placed them in the national title game, which they won over Ohio State.

. . . Rumors persist that if Stan Heath doesn't get his Hogs to the NCAA Tournament he could be done as the Razorbacks coach. Both Sonny Weems and Charles Thomas commented on their coach's precarious position in yesterday's post-game presser:

SONNY WEEMS: You know, I tip my hat off to Coach. We're behind him 100%. You hear a lot of things going on outside about him, but on the court, you know, with 13 players and the coaching staff, we really know what's going on.

CHARLES THOMAS: My teammates said it good enough. That he's a really intense guy. I think any other coach in his situation, with what's being said, would have folded. He stepped behind his team, his teammates and coaching staff and believed in us.

Heath also addressed the issue:

STAN HEATH: Believe it or not, I really and genuinely am happy for my players and probably my wife and my kids. It really probably bothers them more than it bothers me. As a coach, you go into this field, and you know you're a target. You know that people are going to like you, people are going to not like you. You get to the point where you say it really doesn't matter.

That really hasn't been my focus. It's been more or less keeping my team grounded, and keeping them -- their eyes on the important things of what we're trying to do.

(Thanks again to asapsports.com for doing the dirty of transcribing for us. Their typist is just phenomenal.)

. . . Some heavy hiiter media types are in town for this one, including the New York Times' William Rhoden.

. . . Arkansas left the floor with 45:00 remaining on the pre-game clock. Florida returned with 30:00 on the pre-game clock.

Posted by David Scott at 12:34 PM on March 11, 2007
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