Florida basketball coach Todd Golden offers a tweak to the SEC tournament


Florida basketball reached the SEC Tournament final last March, making its first appearance in the tournament title game since 2014.

Florida Gators coach Todd Golden said Nashville's great sixth-seeded run was good for the program. But there were some unintended consequences. First, Florida lost 7-foot-1 starting center Micah Handlogten to a compound fracture of his lower leg in the tournament final game against Auburn in what turned out to be an 86-67 loss.

Then, after playing four games in four days the week before, UF opened the NCAA Tournament as a 7-seed with a 102-100 loss to 10-seed Colorado. It hurt not having Handlogten as a fourth-post player who could sub in and out, especially when Florida forward Tyrese Samuel got into foul trouble in the starting lineup.

“It was tough for us to play four games in four days,” Golden said. “Obviously Micah goes down in the last game. I didn't feel like we were back under control for the rest of the tournament. Obviously it didn't affect us that much offensively, but defensively it wasn't like we were great. “We've been a defensive team all year, but in that game against Colorado we weren't ourselves.

Interestingly, Auburn was also eliminated from the first round of the NCAA Tournament when the No. 4 seed Tigers lost 78-76 to No. 13 seed Yale. Meanwhile, two teams eliminated from the SEC Tournament on Friday — Tennessee and Alabama — reached the Elite Eight and Final Four, respectively.

Should the SEC tournament final take place on Sunday? What Florida basketball player Todd Golden thinks

Former Florida coach Billy Donovan and current Arkansas coach John Calipari have long advocated moving the SEC Tournament final from Sunday to Saturday to give teams an extra day of rest before the NCAA Tournament.

The SEC is one of only five conferences to play its tournament finals on Selection Sunday, a list that includes the Big Ten, American Athletic, Ivy League and Atlantic 10.

“It will be a challenge because the SEC has a good window for the championship game on a Sunday, which is totally fine,” Golden said. “I think we could do a few different things up front to give teams a little more time to rest.”

More specifically, Golden suggested a built-in rest day for the tournament to avoid teams playing four games in four days. Golden said when he was training in San Francisco, he used a day off for that purpose at the West Coast Conference tournament.

With the SEC growing from 14 to 16 teams with the addition of Oklahoma and Texas, finding time for an off day would be an added challenge.

“It’s definitely unique,” ​​Golden said. “But the other thing you have to decide is whether these games should matter in the NCAA Tournament. It clearly didn't matter to the SEC this year. And whether we want to give our teams a chance for further good victories.” Selection on Sunday, a shift upwards would be an advantage.

“But it's really difficult to bring 16 teams to Nashville and try to find a way to keep the teams there for seven days. So I think it's an important conversation. I just don't have the right answer right now to do it better.”

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