Location: Gainesville, FL
Last Year’s Record: 25-11
Why they’ll make it: With five players who started at least one game last season, depth will not be an issue for the Gators. Billy Donovan’s teams like to run the floor so having a deep bench has been a hallmark of his teams. To supplement that, Florida is also bringing in one the nation’s top recruiting classes. While they wait for Nimrod Tishman to be approved by the NCAA, they’ll get immediate help from top prospects, Erik Murphy and Kenny Boynton, in addition to Georgetown transfer Vernon Macklin. The Gators have gone two seasons without a trip to the Big Dance, don’t expect that trend to continue much longer.
Why they won’t make it: This is the wrong season to lose your best player. Nick Calathes left the program for European riches right before season where it seems that the entire SEC East got strong. Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and South Carolina all seemed to be improved over last season. Throw in Ole Miss and Mississippi St from the SEC West and Florida better know who its number one option is going to be. If not, it will find itself with the losses piling up in the tough SEC.