DALLAS — Florida basketball coach Mike White said earlier in the week that he appreciated analyst Seth Davis’ prediction during the selection show on TBS that the Gators would be upset in their NCAA Tournament opener.
He suggested he would use that as a motivational ploy with his players heading into the No. 6-seeded Gators’ showdown with No. 11 St. Bonaventure on Thursday night, as he did last year when Davis made a similar prediction.
And as it turns out, the Florida coaching staff didn’t stop there.
“We also made a highlight film to say how different people in media have chosen the Bonnies over us. It was numerous clips, probably had like 7 or 8,” Florida assistant coach Jordan Mincy said. “Just different video clips our video coordinator put together, just telling guys that, look, once again for the second straight year guys are choosing you guys to lose in the first-round game. It’s something that we’re used to. Guys got to have a chip on their shoulder and that’s how we’ve been.”
In addition to the Davis’ comment, Mincy said there was a clip of Jimmy Dykes on the SEC Network talking about the Gators’ inconsistency.
That’s actually a pretty fair and spot on assessment of the Gators, but for a coaching staff that has tried all season to push the right motivations buttons with this team, why not add it to the mix?
“We think that motivates us to have some type of edge. So hopefully it works, it gives us the focus we need,” Mincy said. “Chris Chiozza and Jalen Hudson, who are fairly close, you can just tell, [they] kind of rocked their head back and forth like, ‘OK, that’s how they feel?’ Those guys don’t watch a lot of TV of selection shows. They watch more basketball games, so I think that was good for them to see.”
When asked about whether the team is using its doubters as motivation, junior center Kevarrius Hayes dismissed Davis’ upset prediction as “same thing as last year.”
“We’ve got to stay true to ourselves. We’re here playing for each other, avoid all the noise as much as possible,” Hayes said.
Said freshman guard Mike Okauru: “We’re still staying upbeat. We believe in ourselves. We know we can go far in this tournament. We’re just trusting each other. We’re just going to go out there and play our hardest and whatever happens, happens.”
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