March 11, 2011

Smith: I was wrong

I was wrong.

All year long, I saw warts when I watched the Florida Gators play basketball. Their perch on top of the SEC standings was no surprise - I picked them to win the East in a conference preview story for Gator Bait Magazine - but that was supposed to be their ceiling. They would hang a banner in the O'Connell Center for being No. 1 in a league with several good teams and no great ones, but they would exit the NCAA Tournament on the first weekend unless they got a fortuitous draw and definitely would be gone after the Sweet 16.

It turns out they are better than that. Much better. The Gators who outscored Alabama 48-21 in the second half last week and whipped Vanderbilt on the Commodores' Senior Day can beat anyone. They are playing with tremendous confidence and toughness. If they maintain that level, the Final Four is as attainable goal.

You name the player or group, and I underestimated them.

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