Florida Gators prepare for SEC Tournament opener against Texas A&M

Florida will play Texas A&M on Thursday at 12 p.m.
Posted at 5:24 PM, Mar 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-09 18:02:15-05

TAMPA, Fla. — The Florida Gators men’s basketball team (19-12) is unranked, and they’re the number nine seed in the SEC Tournament.

Florida players know that an early exit in the SEC Tourney likely shatters their NCAA Tournament hopes.

“Win games, we got to win games,” Florida forward Colin Castleton said. “Whatever we got to do to win games. That’s all it boils down to. Everybody knows it. It’s not going to be sugar-coated. Just got to win games.”

Florida will play eighth-seed Texas A&M Thursday at noon. The Aggies are riding the momentum of a four-game winning streak.

“They beat us the first time,” Castleton said. “They’re obviously a lot better than they were that time.”

“You’ve got a lot of teams in this tournament that can do some damage, that includes A&M,” Florida head coach Mike White added. "They’re playing better offensively. They’re changing things up in terms of personal, roster rotations. Defensively they are very, very good.”

With the tournament in Tampa for the first time in 13 years, and only a bus ride away from Gainesville, Florida hopes that works to their advantage, but they’re not counting on it.

“I know there’s a lot of SEC fan bases that travel, I don’t know if there is going to be an advantage. I would hope so,” Castleton told ABC Action News sports anchor Kyle Burger. “I know our fan base is really big. For these other teams that are out of state, of if they’re in a colder state, coming to Florida is probably awesome for them.”

The Gators must win at least two games to have serious NCAA consideration. If they beat Texas A&M, the next game would be against top-seeded Auburn.