The calendar has turned to a new month and with it comes the realization that the basketball postseason is only a little over a month away.
One group who is very aware of that fact though is the Florida Gators basketball team.
The Gators currently sit at 12-9 and 5-3 in the SEC. That latest win came from a thriller versus Arkansas on January 31.
Down by two with less than 2 seconds left, Michael Frazier was able to draw a foul from Alandise Harris.
Frazier went to the line as the clock shown 1.9 seconds remaining. He banked both free throw shots to put the Gators up by one. Kasey Hill was able to get in front of the Razorbacks in-bound play and knock the ball out of bounds as the clock hit 0.
Michael Frazier seemed to float off the court with a megawatt smile on his face. The sharp shooter has now gone two games in a row without hitting a three (and this after setting a new school record by going 41 straight with a three) but his free throw shooting and defensive performance helped clinch the win and was something he couldn’t stop grinning about.
“Yea I was pretty happy. This was a big win for us. We defiantly needed this one.”
Here the junior got serious though and told of the sense of desperation that has gripped the Gator locker room.
“We’re desperate right now…Our backs are against the wall right now. In order for our goals that we want to have at the end of the season, we gotta take it game by game and play every game like it’s our last.”
5th year senior transfer forward Jon Horford slightly agreed saying, “yea it’s almost to that point”. Then he preceded to compare the rest of the season to The Art of War.
“It’s like Art of War…if you want your warriors to fight as hard as they can, put them in death ground, like you have no choice. You either die or you win. That’s kinda where we are for the postseason. We have to win, we pretty much have to win every game, we have to win every game or the [SEC] tournament to get in.”
Pretty much every game is possible although saying every game would include winning two match ups against still unbeaten Kentucky. The first of those will happen this coming Saturday February 7.
Horford has been to the postseason with Michigan and now as a veteran leader on the young team he has started to make small comments to them about the urgency needed for the final resume push.
“We understand if we don’t line up these wins, stack up these wins, we’re not gonna make it. We’re just being realistic…guys sometimes think we can just turn it on at the end and make it, but sometimes it doesn’t work like that. We have to turn it on right now. There’s no more room for, there’s very very very little room for error.”
The last time the Gators missed the NCAA Tournament was 2008. The Gators followed back to back National Championship with back to back NIT appearances. In 2010, Florida returned to March Madness but were eliminated in the first round. 2011-2013 saw three straight Elite 8 berths before making it to the Final Four in 2014 during a season which culminated 30 straight wins.
The Gators have 10 more regular season games before the SEC Tournament.
Watch below for more from Frazier and Horford and highlights from the Arkansas game.