By LARRY VAUGHT
Just a few minutes after Kentucky beat Florida, the Gators got a ringing endorsement from Kentucky coach John Calipari about their NCAA Tournament status.
“Florida is an NCAA Tournament team. They won at LSU,” Calipari said. “They have had like three (tough) losses. You’re like, how did this happen, you have to watch the tape.
“Mike’s done a great job. I looked at their roster, their starters, and they start three freshmen. You talk about a young team that he’s done a fabulous job with, but they are an NCAA Tournament team and I told our guys from here on in, that’s all you’re playing.
“Every team is an NCAA Tournament team and you can’t have lapses like we had in the first half. ”
The 66-57 loss to Kentucky Saturday dropped the Gators to 17-14 going into the SEC Tournament where the Gators, 9-7 in SEC games, will play Thursday afternoon against Arkansas.
What does Florida coach Mike White think about Calipari’s NCAA projection for his team?
“I’ll say, the (NCAA selection) committee needs to really respect John Calipari’s decision. That’s what I would say,” White said. “I mean, he’s a really, really smart guy. I’m not going any further than that.
“I’m going to break down this film, figure out some things we’ve got to do better, ask my staff who we’re playing next, and start preparing.”