It has been six years since Florida cut down the nets at the O’Connell Center. Wednesday be the night to do it again.
The Gators clinched a share of the SEC regular-season championship and can capture it all for themselves by beating Vanderbilt Wednesday night (8 p.m., WTCN-15). If they win and coach Billy Donovan allows it, they will bring out the ladders and have a rare celebration on the court.
“We’ve never been able to cut down the nets,” guard Kenny Boynton said. “Personally, as a team, we would want that. But that’s his decision. We’ll see how it plays out.”
Last time the Gators (23-5, 13-3 in the SEC) won an outright conference title without sharing it, two years ago, they won on the road and did not get to take down the nets.
Six players on the current team were part of that group. Boynton was a starter, while Erik Murphy, Scottie Wilbekin, Patric Young, Will Yeguete and Casey Prather played regularly as reserves.
Those six can become the first in Florida history to be part of two outright SEC titles if the Gators beat the Commodores (13-15, 7-9) or win at Kentucky on Saturday (12 p.m., CBS). The Wildcats and Alabama entered Tuesday two games behind the Gators and still had hope of sharing the championship.
Donovan is more concerned with correcting some troubling trends he has observed in No. 11 Florida’s past four games. With the conference tournament next week followed by the NCAA Tournament, he wants urgent improvement.
“We’re playing for a lot here on Wednesday— winning a championship outright is always special,” he said. “I think playing better, that’s important right now. After this week is over with, we’re in one-and-done situations the rest of the year.”