Previewing the SEC tournament for Florida Gators basketball: Podcast

GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we preview the SEC tournament for the Florida Gators basketball team that plays on Friday night.

Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre are joined by Eric Fawcett to talk about the Gators latest winning streak, plus who they could face on Friday night.

Andrew and Nick also ask Eric about where the Gators look to be seeded heading into the NCAA tournament and how Florida can improve that seeding this weekend.

TRANSCRIPT:

Andrew:                 What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre and our basketball man, our man, Eric. He didn’t jinx anyone last week. Guess what? The Gators went undefeated last week and beat a good Kentucky team, and beat them handily at home. Eric, surprised by how well they played on Saturday?

Eric:                          I have to point out that I did mention in our last podcast, although I didn’t make a prediction, I said that I thought whoever won was going to blow the other team out. I thought that either Florida wasn’t going to be able to score, and therefore Kentucky would be able to get out and transition and score, and then Florida would lose by a lot, or I thought Florida was going to score, therefore taking away Kentucky’s transition opportunities, and I said Florida was going to win big. Luckily, that happened. I did expect a little bit of a blowout, at least in one team’s direction, and I’m glad it went Florida’s way, of course.

Nick:                         Count it.

Eric:                          Am I surprised? Not really.

Nick:                         What you’re saying is you called bank.

Eric:                          I called bank. That’s an accurate way to put that. I didn’t call the game, but I called bank.

Andrew:                 Let me ask you this, then. If you’re not surprised by that, because you and I and Nick, we talked two weeks ago, roughly two weeks ago. Florida had just lost to Vanderbilt. They had the final four games of at Tennessee, Auburn, at Bama, and then Kentucky. We all said we didn’t think Florida would go undefeated. We all said we didn’t think Florida would lose all four. Florida wins three out of four and do it in pretty big fashion. The Auburn game is a six-point win, but we all can agree it could have been worse for Florida in that game. Are you surprised that, as Mike White said, they’re playing the best basketball now? I’m going to say you’re not surprised, because nothing surprises me with this team.

Eric:                          It’s crazy too, because that Tennessee game was within reach, and Florida didn’t play all that well and were still in the game. They almost could have had a four game winning streak out of that really difficult challenge. I think that’s what is crazy about college basketball, how quickly things turn. Florida was kind of losing water really quick, and then they got one big win, and then it turned into two big wins, and suddenly you’re hot. Then you go dominate Kentucky. It’s not like the pro sports, where you have to win six or seven in a row to be considered hot. In college basketball it turns on a dime.

Am I surprised that it took this long for Florida to kind of play their best basketball? I think that one thing people have to remember is just how many moving pieces there were. Two of the guys that play upwards of 30 minutes a night, Jalen Hudson and Egor Koulechov, they obviously were new pieces this year, and they’re both very unique pieces.

Koulechov is one of the most unique players in college basketball. He is a guy who is a tough shot maker catching the ball off screens, and then he’s also a guy who wants to take you down in the post, even though he’s 6’5” and 205 pounds. That can be kind of a tough guy to integrate, and it’s kind of taken till the end of this season for Coach White to figure out how exactly he wants to use him. Then you have Jalen Hudson, who takes wild shots off the dribble, but he can make wild shots. Trying to keep that guy in the proper role, where he’s empowered to shoot the shots that he can make, while not just freelancing, that takes time too.

I think that there’s a lot of things like that that just took a lot of tinkering. It took a lot of buy-in from the players. That’s something that earlier in the season I don’t think we had. Better late than never. This is the best time to get hot. I’m happy, obviously happy, as all Gator fans are.

Andrew:                 Welcome back, KeVaughn Allen too.

Eric:                          That certainly helps, because he’s also a great defender. You kind of need to have him on the floor, but if he’s going to be invisible on offense, he’s not helping you there. KeVaughn Allen I feel like has been our most discussed player on the podcast this year, just because he’s so polarizing. He could win you a game in the SEC Tournament or the NCAA Tournament, because a team might be able to put a lot of energy into stopping Chris Chiozza and Jalen Hudson, but they might not have a third guy who can match up with KeVaughn Allen if he gets going. He can be an X factor very easily.

Nick:                         That’s why we keep talking about KeVaughn Allen. It’s the if. If he keeps going, if he starts shooting.

Eric:                          That’s a great point.

Andrew:                 Props to Chris Chiozza. Now the assist leader, all time assist leader. I know some people were giving crap to Erving Walker. Our good friend, Mark Long, who he has issues all the time anyway, he said he was glad that it happened, Erving Walker didn’t deserve records. I’ll be the first to say, Erving Walker, while he had some crazy shots, Erving Walker did a hell of a lot to be a guy his size.

Eric:                          Oh yeah. To disparage any former Gator, I just don’t think it gains you much. You don’t have to put someone else down to prop Chiozza up. One thing that is crazy, and again I don’t say this to disparage Walker, just more to say how impressive this is for Chiozza, but Walker has almost over 1,000 more minutes played in his career than Chris Chiozza does. It’s even funny, obviously we’re looking at assist totals, but if you wanted to say like assists per 40 minutes, or assists per 30 minutes, whatever metric, Chiozza would be way ahead. That just shows how efficient he has been in sharing the basketball, to play that many fewer minutes but be able to pass him is really special.

Then, obviously, you add in the fact that Chris Chiozza, it’s not like he’s been a four-year starter. He’s started close to about two season’s worth of games, because he did start some games as a sophomore and a junior. Also, a lot of the times when he was on the floor, he was on the floor with Kasey Hill, so that’s another guy who’s very ball dominant. For Chris Chiozza to not play a huge amount of minutes in his college basketball career, to play a lot of those minutes with a second really ball dominant point guard in Kasey Hill, and to have the assist record, that’s really impressive.

Andrew:                 Agreed. SEC Tournament ball. We’re taping this Wednesday afternoon. It starts Wednesday night, so you guys will be listening to us on Thursday, and two games will already have taken place. Florida’s a three seed in this tournament. Before I get to the SEC Tournament, I want to look at the NCAA Tournament as a whole. A lot of talk about how many teams the SEC will get in. I just want to focus just on Florida for a second. Eric, do you see them as anywhere from a five to seven seed? Is that kind of what you’re thinking? Do you think they possibly get up to that four seed? What are you thinking here?

Eric:                          I think closer to five than to seven, for sure. When you look at their wins, that puts them up in the elite. We talked about it last podcast. They’re third in Quadrant 1 victories, and could get, I don’t know if they have Quadrant 1 opportunities, but they might have one or two in the SEC Tournament. Those wins are impressive, and a lot of their losses aren’t looking as bad. Loyola Chicago, one of the worst losses of the year that started the ridiculous anti Mike White statements, they just won their league, so they’re in the NCAA Tournament, and they’re not going to be a six seed. They could be an 11 or 12 likely. That’s a good team. Loyola Chicago is 27th in RPI, so that puts them ahead of Seaton Hall, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Florida. They’re ahead of us. These losses that Florida had aren’t looking as bad.

I think Florida is looking at a five or six right now. I’d actually be pretty surprised if they were a seven. I would say five or six, with an opportunity to move up, because there’s a lot of other teams in that range that are going to have some difficult conference games, and I don’t think are playing as good of basketball as Florida is right now. If Florida gathers a couple wins, they could get up to four.

Honestly, if they go all the way and win the SEC Tournament, I would say there’s an outside opportunity that they get a three. That would be a little tough with the amount of losses, but when you compile up that many marquee wins, that’s really tough for a committee to overlook. I’m going to say five or six right now. Realistic possibility of four. Outside opportunity of three. I actually don’t think, even if they lose their first game, I don’t think they’re a seven.

Andrew:                 I saw a stat, and I’m blanking. I’m looking as we’re doing this right now to find this. I saw a stat somewhere the other day that Florida and Virginia almost had the identical resume, as far as teams played, beaten, that kind of thing. Of course, Florida has more losses. I mean, to think about Florida’s out of conference play, you just said it a few minutes ago. Florida could very easily have beaten Tennessee, very easily could have beat Vanderbilt. A lot of the games they’ve lost this year have been games that they led. I don’t think that any seed, a three seed, would Florida be deserving of a three seed? I think you can argue not, but would it surprise a lot of people? I don’t think so.

Eric:                          As long as you have big wins, the committee values those, I think, over bad losses. That Cincinnati win has aged like a fine wine. Cincinnati has been a perennial top 10 team in the AP poll, and they look great. Gonzaga as well. Baylor, a team that Florida beat handily, has went on to get really hot and win a lot of games. Those wins are badges of pride that the tournament committee is going to look at positively.

Like you said, if they can win the SEC Tournament and are a three, I wouldn’t be too surprised. If a team looks at, or if a fan of another team looks at that, and says Florida is not deserving of that seed, if you look at all their wins and match it up against all those other teams in that three range or the four range behind them, Florida is going to crush them in that category. It could happen.

Nick:                         You’re saying the conference tournament is important.

Eric:                          Oh yeah, for Florida. Like I said, Florida doesn’t have anything to lose, but they have a lot to gain. That’s great. I don’t think they can really drop that much if they lose on Friday night, but if they win all the way through, that could push them up really nicely. Especially, the SEC Tournament is looking like it’s going to have potentially eight or nine bids. It’s one of the strongest leagues in the country. If Florida wins, that’s also going to help. How do you not have the most dominant team in that conference up there? It could happen. SEC Tournament is important.

Nick:                         John Calipari told me that the conference tournament was a waste of time, and that there shouldn’t be a conference tournament.

Andrew:                 John Calipari also tells you there’s a waste of time after one year of college.

Eric:                          I don’t know how far he’s going to go. At first the conference tournament is going to be a waste of time. Then conference games are going to be a waste of time. It’ll just get to the point where Kentucky is going to play a few scrimmages, and then have their guys train and declare for the draft. I’m not sure where his whole thing will end.

Andrew:                 My thing is, and I’ve long said this, I think there is an argument both ways of how important the conference tournament is, but you never want to go into the NCAA playing bad. Florida’s on a three-game winning streak here. Let’s just say Florida wins the SEC Tournament, or gets to the championship game, whatever it may be, to go in, especially for this team, this team more than probably any team I’ve ever covered momentum is so big for this team. I just think going in riding high is always a plus than going in after getting spanked. If you’re Kentucky, if you lose Game 1, you’re going in after back to back losses, that’s not the way you want to be.

Eric:                          It seems like you want to go in high. You look at Michigan last year, a team that they had a wild story last year. Up until the Big Ten conference tournament they probably were like on the lower side of the bubble. Then they go to the Big Ten Tournament. They have a plane crash on the way there, don’t even have their jerseys. They have to play in their practice jerseys. They go win the tournament, and then they’re hot going into the NCAA Tournament. They go far. Michigan even last year was an example of a team that went in hot, and they started lower than Florida started, because they were way outside the bubble when they started their run. It shows how hot they are.

At the same time, I think this is an anomaly, but it is interesting that like South Carolina last year just limped into the NCAA Tournament. South Carolina was playing horrible, and they ended up making the Final Four. They lost, just looking at it now, it looks like they lost seven of their last nine games in the SEC, and they obviously went to the Final Four. I think that was more of an anomaly. I would always want to be playing hot, and I think there’s more examples of that. Especially with a team like Florida, that can shoot the lights out when they’re feeling it. Going in hot is awesome.

Nick:                         Michigan trying to do that again this year.

Eric:                          They’re looking about the same thing. They play that run and gun style that they can get hot, so we’ll see how they do.

Andrew:                 Let’s look at this tournament. South Carolina and Ole Miss play the play in game on Wednesday night, as we’re taping this. The winner of that plays Arkansas on Thursday, with the winner of that playing Florida. Right now we’re taping this at 1:30 Eastern Time on Wednesday. Florida could face either Arkansas, Ole Miss, or South Carolina. Florida’s lost to South Carolina and Ole Miss. They’ve beaten Arkansas. What do you think is the best matchup here for Florida? What would be the best win for Florida? Obviously, I guess it would be Arkansas. If you’re Florida, who are you hoping for?

Eric:                          I think that the best matchup, and the best win, would both be the same thing, which doesn’t always happen, and that’s Arkansas, even though they’re by far the highest seed. Arkansas got dominated by Florida in their matchup. It was obviously earlier in the year, but Florida won 88-73, I believe. We talk about KeVaughn Allen all the time. That’s one thing, when he plays his instate team that wanted him really bad, KeVaughn Allen always comes to play. He had 28 points in that one. I think that’s where he hit his like six three-pointers.

I really like the way that they matchup with Arkansas. That would also, obviously, be the best win opportunity, in terms of NCAA Tournament seeding. Then you add in the fact that Ole Miss beat us this year, and actually controlled the game pretty good. South Carolina is always just a scary team to play. I know Florida played them, obviously dominated them the second time around, but at a neutral site South Carolina always comes hard. That’s a team that in the back of my mind there would just be a little bit of doubt coming in, just because of how tough they play. I actually hope we see Arkansas, both because I think that’s a team that Florida is going to handle really well and would also give the best win opportunity.

Andrew:                 When you look at this tournament in general, I guess, who do you see having maybe the easiest run in this, and then, without jinxing anyone, outside of Florida, who do you see having the best chance to get to Sunday?

Eric:                          I really think that Florida actually has the easiest route, which is actually pretty funny to say, because Auburn, who is #1, you’d think they’d have the easiest route, but they’re going to have to play the winner of Texas A&M and Alabama, and those are two teams that could really give them trouble, particularly because Auburn is undersized and unhealthy. Kentucky has got the winner of Missouri and either Vanderbilt or Georgia. We saw Missouri give Florida trouble, and a has been a really strong team. Then Mississippi State and LSU, the team that wins that one is going to go against Tennessee. I would rather play Arkansas or South Carolina than LSU or Mississippi State. I actually think Florida has got the best draw. That’s great for us.

A team that I think could get hot. Honestly, if Alabama or Texas A&M can handle Auburn in that game against the one seed, and then plays the winner of probably Missouri and Kentucky, they matchup with that one really well too. I think that these tough, athletic, physical teams that rebound and play defense, they’re really suited for tournament games, where you have those quick turnarounds. On an outside shot, I would give Alabama or Texas A&M kind of a good chance of being the sleeper underdog winner of the SEC Tournament.

Andrew:                 My how Texas A&M dropped. Top 25 team. What were they? Top 10 entering conference play, right? Then injuries took the best of them. I’m with you. I think maybe they get hot. If they get hot, who knows what it would be? Kentucky is a team, in my opinion, that is just a team that could go to Sunday, or it’s a team that could lose Friday. They’re a weird team.

Eric:                          They play big, and they play athletic, so if they end up matching up with Texas A&M, Texas A&M is also big and athletic, but Texas A&M has juniors and seniors, and Kentucky has freshmen. In a knockout tournament setting, where you have Calipari already preaching about how this tournament doesn’t matter, whereas Texas A&M is desperately looking for wins to better their standing. I would take Texas A&M in that game when I fill out my SEC Tournament bracket, which I will do for fun right after this podcast. I don’t know how much I like Kentucky in this one.

Andrew:                 You got Florida. You got Tennessee, Kentucky, Auburn. I say those four, they’re for sure in. Arkansas and Missouri are most likely in as well. Who are your teams that you think are in heading into the SEC Tournament, and then who are the teams that need a win or two to make the NCAA?

Eric:                          I definitely, obviously, have Auburn, Tennessee, Florida, Kentucky. Texas A&M I think is in for sure. Arkansas in for sure. I do think Missouri is in for sure. I think that it’s probably a team like Alabama, who needs a win just to solidify it. Also, I think Alabama, if they get in right now, they’re probably an eleven seed, in that play in game. No one wants to be in that play in game, where you’re playing on a Tuesday next week. Most people think the tournament hasn’t even started yet, even though it really has for those teams. They’re a team that would definitely need a win.

Honestly, LSU. If LSU can go on a little bit of a run here and maybe win two games, or it might take three, but LSU could find themselves in the tournament if they go on a little bit of a run here. It’s crazy how many SEC teams are going to make it in comfortably and how many could make it in with a good SEC Tournament, just because this has been, as we know, a three or four bid league the last couple years, and then that’s doubling this year. I don’t see that going away. This is not a flash in the pan. A lot of these programs are in great shape. This is a strong league.

Nick:                         I think there was a big commitment a couple years back, just from a coaching standpoint across the league. When you look at Bruce Pearl, Avery Johnson, schools that maybe hadn’t made a commitment to basketball started to, and I think that’s probably where you see the change starting. I think Joe Lunardi had eight teams getting in. A couple years back it was always Florida’s going to make it, Kentucky’s going to make it, and then maybe there’s a flash in the pan school that has a good season and gets to the tournament. That’s certainly changed, especially when you think eight teams might get in.

Eric:                          I mean, again, this is just not really a flash in the pan, when you look at recruiting classes coming up. What’s really wild is Vanderbilt is 12-19. They finished 13th in the SEC, and they have two top 10 kids coming in next year, which is absurd. Can you imagine? It’s even crazy saying it for this year, but if a couple years ago I told you, Nick and Andrew, guess what? There are two top 10 kids committed to Vanderbilt. You probably wouldn’t believe me. That’s crazy. Even the teams at the bottom of the league. LSU has five-stars coming in, and they’re at the bottom of the league. Obviously, the top of the league is as strong as ever with Auburn and Tennessee even going strong, in addition to Kentucky and Florida, who are looking in great shape.

This is not a flash in the pan. This is going to be a league that’s going to be strong for a while now, for sure, and that’s really good for Florida’s tournament chances. You’re seeing it in a year like this, where Florida had a rough stretch. They win a couple games, and suddenly they’re looking like a five or six seed. If it was a three bid league in the SEC, and Florida had their bad stretch, they wouldn’t have to win three or four games, they would have to win six or seven or eight to get back in the picture. That’s what’s really good.

Andrew:                 Let’s look at something real quick. Tuesday brought out the SEC Coach’s. First team, second team, all defensive team, yada, yada. First of all, Chris Chiozza makes first team, which is great, by the Coach’s. The AP doesn’t put him on the first team All-SEC, which was a freaking joke. Let’s just say that. Then Jalen Hudson doesn’t make it. What a joke. Do you agree? Am I crazy why Hudson didn’t make it?

Eric:                          I think it’s pretty crazy that someone could look at a team with Florida’s success and say, obviously, Chris Chiozza is a big part of their success, but to not see Hudson’s role, I just find confusing. Maybe shows some guys that didn’t watch some of those later tip times that Florida was playing, or the early Saturday games. It is a little crazy that they didn’t recognize what he’s doing, and even his raw numbers are pretty dominant. Peculiar, especially given the fact that, I always kind of find it funny that the SEC does eight-person teams, not like most other sports that do five, especially basketball leagues, that do just like five players. For there to be eight and to not get Hudson in on those, that’s a little surprising, no question.

Nick:                         Do you think that takes away from it?

Eric:                          It does cheapen it a little bit, but then, at the same time, you see when there’s that many players, and you don’t see Jalen Hudson, that’s even more of a slight. I hope that he feels that a little bit and goes out and balls out and shows them what they missed.

Nick:                         Speaking of slight, Bruce Pearl feels like his team was slighted.

Andrew:                 Hold on. Hold on. I told you guys beforehand that I had something I wanted to say about Bruce Pearl.

Nick:                         Let me take my headphones off.

Eric:                          I’m going to get a coffee.

Andrew:                 Why is this joker talking about this when he pays players? I mean, the guy is over here, he’s probably going to lose his job at the end of the year, and he’s going to gripe about it? Dude, this SEC Championship will be vacated at the end of the year, bud. You’re not even going to have this SEC Championship, because it’s going to be vacated. You paid your guys, dude. You cheat. I don’t understand this guy. This guy is crazy. He’s a titty baby. He is definitely a Tennessee Volunteer at heart. That’s all I can say.

Eric:                          I like it. You were able to slander two programs in that.

Nick:                         Never underestimate an Andrew Spivey rant and how widespreading that net can be.

Eric:                          Everyone’s going to catch stray shots. I just thought that was pretty weird from Bruce Pearl, because if you remember too, he wore a t-shirt that said 4-14 to a bunch of practices early in the year, because a CBS writer predicted them to finish 4-14. He made t-shirts and wore them at practice. He went to Twitter to voice his displeasure about not getting guys on the team.

To be honest, I can see his grievance, to an extent, just because I thought maybe one guy is deserving, but at the same time, if I’m him, instead of taking it like I got slighted, we got screwed, I almost just use it to show how almost impressive the team is that they had eight guys that were all playing huge rolls, and they didn’t have a star. They had eight guys that played big minutes in their rotation, played very distinct roles, and did them very well, and they didn’t rely on one star.

If I was him, I would say that’s so impressive to my six, seventh, and eighth guys on the bench that they played so well that we didn’t need to have a star that we propped up because he scored 20 points a game. Instead of using it as an opportunity to praise the depth of his team and praise some of the role players on his team, he just was like, everyone is out to get me, screw them, screw the voters. I don’t know. I would probably have approached it in a different way.

Andrew:                 Everybody’s out to get you, because you cheat, dude. I mean, everybody knows you cheat. You’re going to lose your job.

Nick:                         Let’s be fair. He did self-report the money that Florida fans threw his players when they were leaving the field, so maybe he’s changed.

Andrew:                 Maybe he changed, because whoever he gave that to, and Bruce Pearl is going to say, I think they’re going to give that back to Florida or donate it to charity. No. JoAnn the secretary bought her Subway with that. Come on. Let’s just be honest with it.

Eric:                          I guess though maybe he knows. You mentioned the FBI thing. It might come up and haunt him. Maybe he knows that he’s just going to go out in a blaze of glory, guns firing, middle fingers up. That kind of feels like the way he’s finishing out this season. Maybe that’s the reason why is because he knows it’ll be his last one at Auburn.

Nick:                         If that’s happening, I’m here for it.

Andrew:                 All I can say is he is definitely Butch Jones’ good friend. Both of those guys. I mean, Volunteers at heart. Come on, man. I just don’t even know what to say about Bruce Pearl. It’s one of those things where it’s like Ole Miss. You cheat at Ole Miss, and they became good. It’s like, everybody knows you cheated. You got too good, too quick. Auburn, same way. Bruce, you cheated. You got too good, too quick. Come on, you cheated.

Eric:                          He is brash. He doesn’t care. One thing I thought was hilarious too that some of you guys might have seen on Twitter, one of the Rowdy Reptiles on the day of them playing at Florida saw Bruce Pearl at a pool in Gainesville and took a photo of him. Had it blown up into a huge poster, and was waving it around at the game, and Bruce Pearl came after the game and signed it. You know what? I do find the guy hilarious, if nothing else. He’s probably not as much, I guess he still could be the villain, but he still cracks me up. I don’t have any pure hatred for the guy.

Nick:                         There’s something to be said for not taking yourself too seriously there.

Andrew:                 You guys can say you don’t, that you guys like him, but listen, this guy over here, no love lost to the guy. Zero.

Nick:                         Jim McElwain wasn’t walking over and signing a picture of whoever that guy was on top of the shark. There’s something to be said for …

Andrew:                 What would Jim McElwain sign it? Jim McElwain, the guy who humped the shark?

Nick:                         He’s signing a contract at Michigan, and apparently, did you see his bio? They say his explosive offenses for three years. Explosive diarrhea. I don’t know what that intern at Michigan was watching, but he wasn’t watching the same football we were watching.

Andrew:                 I don’t know what’s worse, that or the photo that showed up on Twitter today of Butch Jones at the University of Alabama in an Alabama thing. The guy shouldn’t even get to put on a championship logo.

Eric:                          Oh, man. It does put things in perspective when you start talking Bruce Pearl, and then you look at some of those guys in football. That does put things in perspective. That is why college sports are amazing.

Andrew:                 It is. NCAA Tournament time is right around the corner. Last thing I want to do and say to you guys is do you guys agree with what the selection committee is going to do, or the reveal party, where they’re going to reveal all 68 teams, and then they’re going to reveal the bracket? That takes away from the fun.

Eric:                          Yeah. It takes away from the fun. It takes away from a little bit, I don’t want to say shock value, but just surprise value. To me, the biggest misstep is still the fact that on the selection show they have guys like Charles Barkley, who we know have not watched a minute of college basketball every year, and someone is going to tell him an hour before the broadcast that his Auburn Tigers are actually a team up at the top of the bracket. Then he’s going to go on about them being a Final Four team.

I just know it’s going to be painful. A few years back he started talking about Georgetown and how he liked them. Georgetown was not going anywhere close to making the tournament. He said something similar about Syracuse, who was at the bottom, and how he thought they were a great team. Just things that show that he watched college basketball in 2004, but hasn’t watched it this year. I have totally taken the question away from what you asked, but it’s changing it up. It’s going to make the program longer, which I don’t like. Everyone just wants to see the bracket and get to work on their brackets.

Andrew:                 Exactly.

Eric:                          I am not a big fan. What do you guys think?

Nick:                         No. There doesn’t even need to be a host. There doesn’t need to be an anchor. Just however big your TV is, I just want a bracket just posted. Just post a picture of the bracket. You don’t need to talk about it. You don’t need to break it down. Like you said, I love Chuck, but he’s got a job.

Andrew:                 Do you love Chuck’s golf swing?

Nick:                         That’s hilarious.

Eric:                          I was just going to say, there is one thing that I am a sucker for. I will say this that I’m a little bit of a romantic about. I do love seeing when they announce that 1-16 game, and they cut to some small school that hasn’t been in the NCAA Tournament for 30 years, and the won their conference, so they get a bid. Then the camera goes live to their locker room, wherever they’re watching, and you get to see that celebration of a team that is a bunch of guys that are usually juniors and seniors, probably thought they might never be able to play in the big dance, and they went on a run, won their tournament, and now get to have that moment of elation before they go get crushed in the 16-1 game. I am a sucker for that. In terms of should there be a selection show, I just want a bunch of live feeds of all the low and mid major teams that won their tournaments. I want to see their elation. I am a sucker for that.

Nick:                         Show me North Southeastern Westerly State celebrating in their locker room before having to go play Villanova. Show me that. The shows are so long to begin with, and now you’re making it longer. It’s like you said, just tell me. By the way, you can go online and fill your bracket out. Here it is.

Andrew:                 That’s all I need. Again, I just think it takes away. It’s always cool when you get that last bracket, and there’s four teams that are on the bubble. You’re sitting here thinking, who is it? It’s not fun for that team, but it’s fun for the fans. Anyway, we’re going on. We’re just ranting here. Nick, tell everybody where they can find us. We’ll get out. We’ll see everyone later in the week where we’ll preview baseball and softball.

Nick:                         www.GatorCountry.com for all your Florida Gator news. The podcast is there in audio and transcript form. You can also find the podcast on iTunes. Search @GatorCountry. Do your social media thing. @GatorCountry on Facebook and Twitter. I’m @NickdelaTorreGC. He’s @AndrewSpiveyGC. Eric is @EFawcett7. All on Twitter.

Andrew:                 There you go. Guys, we appreciate it so much. Tune in. Eric will have a lot of stuff. I’m looking forward to seeing NCAA Tournament breakdown from my man. We’ll get out, and we’ll be back on Friday, Nick. You and I will do some baseball and softball preview, as softball starts SEC play and baseball continues out of conference play and gets Deacon Liput back. We appreciate it guys. As always, chomp, chomp. Go Braves.

 

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Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.