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No. 1 Florida survives a scare from No. 16 Albany

Mar 20, 2014, 6:47 PM EDT

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Florida entered the NCAA tournament as the No. 1 seed in the South Region, the No. 1 overall seed, the No. 1 team in the country and the favorite to win a national title.

And in their opener against No. 16 seed Albany, they looked anything but the part.

The Great Danes led until late in the first half, tied the game up at 39 with less than 15 minutes left and were not out of contention until the final minutes, losing 67-55, despite the fact that their two leading scorers combined for just nine points on 2-for-18 shooting.

Safe to say, Billy Donovan was not happy with the performance.

“To be honest with you, I’m a little bit baffled with our team right now. I really am,” he said during the postgame interview.

What was wrong?

Frankly, it looked like the Gators expected to walk into the gym and have Albany roll over and play dead, and the Great Danes weren’t about to quit with their season on the line. They routinely beat Florida’s press and got easy shots out of it. They routinely beat the Gators down the floor. Florida is bigger, more athletic and more talented, which is why they won. Not because they played like they wanted it more.

I expect that to change on Saturday, when Florida will take on No. 9 seed Pitt, who knocked off No. 8 Colorado in impressive fashion in the South Region opener. It seems like every year, there are one or two No. 1 seeds that get a scare simply because they assume playing a No. 16 seed is a bye.

And, at the end of the day, a win is all that matters in the NCAA tournament.

Florida got that.

  1. Shayn Roby - Mar 21, 2014 at 1:58 AM

    Reblogged this on Shayn Roby's College Sports and commented:
    Shayn Roby’s Take: A scare did no harm. The Gators will most likely be sharp on Saturday. They still will probably take down the nets after they win the National Championship.

  2. florida727 - Mar 21, 2014 at 7:26 AM

    The old adage is “survive and advance”. Kind of like in golf, there are no pictures on the scoreboard. But if they play like that on Saturday, the coaching staff will be booking tee times on Sunday. You’d think at this point in the season, and for the four seniors’ careers, they’d play with an incredible sense of urgency every minute of every game. Very disappointed in the performance, but a win is still a win and at this time of the year, it means you get to play one more day.

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