Florida Gators men's basketball

The Florida Gators men's basketball team represents the University of Florida in the sport of basketball. The Gators compete in NCAA Division I's Southeastern Conference (SEC). Home games are played in the Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center on the university's Gainesville, Florida campus.

Florida Gators men's basketball
2019–20 Florida Gators men's basketball team
Florida Gators men's basketball logo.svg
UniversityUniversity of Florida
Athletic directorScott Stricklin
Head coachMike White (5th season)
LocationGainesville, Florida
ArenaExactech Arena at Stephen C. O'Connell Center
(Capacity: 10,151)
Student sectionRowdy Reptiles
ColorsOrange and Blue[1]
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Home jersey
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Team colours
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Away jersey
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Team colours
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Alternate jersey
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Team colours
NCAA Tournament Champions
2006, 2007
NCAA Tournament Runner-up
NCAA Tournament Final Four
1994, 2000, 2006, 2007, 2014
NCAA Tournament Elite Eight
1994, 2000, 2006, 2007, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017
NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen
1987, 1994, 1999, 2000, 2006, 2007, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017
NCAA Tournament Round of 32
1987, 1988, 1994, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019
NCAA Tournament Appearances
1987, 1988, 1989, 1994, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019
Conference Tournament Champions
2005, 2006, 2007, 2014
Conference Regular Season Champions
1989, 2000, 2001, 2007, 2011, 2013, 2014

The University of Florida's first basketball team took the court in 1915, but success was scarce for many years. The program did not have an adequate gymnasium until the Florida Gymnasium in 1950, did not hire a full-time basketball coach until Norm Sloan in 1960, and did not play in a modern arena until the O'Connell Center opened in 1980. Florida made its first postseason tournament appearance in the 1969 National Invitation Tournament and first appeared in the NCAA tournament in 1987, but consistent success was elusive, and the Gators often found themselves in the bottom half of the conference standings.[2]

Florida's basketball program finally found consistent success under head coach Billy Donovan, who was hired in 1996. In 19 years as Florida's coach, Donovan led the program to seven of its eight Southeastern Conference (SEC) regular season championships, all four SEC tournament championships, 14 of 22 NCAA Tournament appearances, four out of five Final Four appearances, and back-to-back national championships in 2006 and 2007. Florida's head coach since 2015 has been Mike White, who has led the Gators to three NCAA Tournament bids in his first four seasons at the school.[3]

Schedule overviewEdit

The college basketball season begins in early November, and the non-conference portion of the schedule typically runs until the end of the calendar year. The Gators usually play in a cross-regional tournament or two, play a home or away game against another top program, and complete in their annual game against in-state rival Florida State.

The 18-game Southeastern Conference (SEC) slate usually tips off during the first week of the new year. The schedule consists of a pair of home-and-home games against five SEC teams, plus a single game against each of the other eight SEC teams. Historically, the Gators did not have significant rivals in men's basketball. Since the 1990s, however, Florida has built rivalries with Kentucky and Tennessee as the Gators have become consistent contenders for the Southeastern Conference championship.


Early yearsEdit

The modern University of Florida was created in 1905, when the Florida Legislature passed the Buckman Act, consolidating four predecessor institutions to form the "University of the State of Florida." Ten years later, the university sponsored its first varsity basketball team that tipped off in 1915 under head coach C. J. McCoy, who was also the head coach of the Florida Gators football team. The team compiled a 5–1 record against small colleges and local athletic clubs. However, like several other sports programs at the university, the basketball team did not compete for the next three years due to World War I. The basketball program restarted during the 1919–20 school year without a professional coach, though the Gators did have a new venue—University Gymnasium, which had just been completed. Head coach William G. Kline, who was also Florida's head football coach, led the basketball team from 1920 to 1922.

The 1920–21 Florida Gators basketball team outside of University Gym

Changing facilitiesEdit

By the mid-1920s, the team and the university had outgrown the University Gymnasium, which had very little spectator space. The larger wooden structure built directly adjacent to the University Gym in 1928 was officially known as "Building R", through it was commonly called the "New Gym". The New Gym was intended to be a temporary home for the basketball team until funding was found for a more permanent structure. However, funds soon became scarce with the coming of the Great Depression; university president John J. Tigert along with several other athletic supporters had to take out personal loans to finish the construction of the school's first football stadium, Florida Field. Plans were finally made for a new basketball arena after World War II, and the Gators moved into the Florida Gymnasium (also known as Alligator Alley) during the 1949–50 season.

Southeastern ConferenceEdit

In December 1932, the University of Florida joined the Southeastern Conference as one of its 13 charter members. The Gators spent most of the first half-century of SEC play in the bottom half of the standings. They only finished higher than fourth twice between 1932–33 and 1979–80. From the founding of the SEC until 1960, the head coach's slot was filled part-time by a coach from another Gator team, including head baseball coaches Brady Cowell, Ben Clemons and Sam McAllister, head football coach Josh Cody, and football assistants Spurgeon Cherry and John Mauer. Cody had previously coached the Clemson and Vanderbilt basketball teams; Mauer had previously coached the Kentucky and Tennessee basketball squads. None of them were able to build the Gators into consistent contenders in conference play.

Building a programEdit

In hopes of breathing life into the program, Florida hired Norm Sloan as its first full-time head coach for the 1960–61 season. He compiled a record of 85–63 in six seasons, including the Gators' first two wins over long-dominant Kentucky in SEC play. Sloan's Gators did not receive a postseason tournament invitation during his tenure, however; until 1975 only the conference champion was guaranteed an NCAA bid. Nonetheless, according to Florida historian Norm Carlson, Sloan elevated the Gators basketball program from "an intramural program and built the grass roots." Sloan left Florida for his alma mater, North Carolina State, after the 1965–66 season.[4]

Tommy Bartlett succeeded Sloan as head coach in 1966–67. His Gators experienced initial success during his first three seasons, finishing second, fifth and third respectively in SEC play. His first team notched the school's first 20-win season; a season sweep by Tennessee left them one game short of their first SEC title. Led by center Neal Walk (the only Gator to have his number retired) and forward Andy Owens, the team received a bid to the 1969 National Invitation Tournament—the first postseason tournament invitation in team history. Bartlett could not sustain the level of talent in recruiting, and team performance declined thereafter. John Lotz, a respected assistant under North Carolina's Dean Smith, succeeded Bartlett in 1973–74. Lotz's Gators peaked with a 17–9 overall record and a fourth-place conference finish (10–8 SEC) in 1976–77, but trailed off to consecutive last place conference finishes in 1978-79 and 1979-80, with Lotz being dismissed before the end of the regular season.[5]

Sloan's success and scandalEdit

The modern era of Florida basketball began in 1980, when the team moved into their current home, the O'Connell Center. The Florida Gym had not aged well over the decades, and by the mid-1970s, Florida was the only basketball program in the SEC without a modern arena. The university built the O'Connell Center (which quickly gained the nickname "The O'Dome") as the new home for all of the university's indoor sports programs, and it proved to be a boon across several sports. The new facility improved the basketball program in several ways, including helping to convince Norm Sloan to return to Gainesville.[6]

Sloan returned as Florida's head coach after a successful 14-year tenure at North Carolina State which included an undefeated season in 1972–73 and an NCAA championship in 1974. His second stint at Florida was easily the most successful period in program history until the late 1990s, and it was made possible by his ability to convince several top Florida high school basketball players—such as Gainesville's Vernon Maxwell and Brandon's Dwayne Schintzius—to stay in-state instead of attending schools with more basketball tradition. After four years of rebuilding, Sloan led the Gators to the 1984 NIT, which was only the second postseason appearance in school history. They would make the NIT again in 1985 and 1986, reaching the NIT semi-finals in 1986. In 1987, shooting guard Vernon Maxwell led the team to the school's first ever NCAA Tournament appearance, advancing all the way to the Sweet 16. Sloan coached the team to 20-win seasons and NCAA tournament appearances again the following two years, and led the Gators to the school's first-ever SEC regular season title in 1989 behind center Dwayne Schintzius.

However, after a drug scandal involving Maxwell and an NCAA investigation for various rules violations, Sloan and his coaching staff were forced to resign on October 31, 1989, just days before the start of the 1989–90 season. Former Tennessee coach Don DeVoe was brought in as the interim coach, but the defending SEC champions struggled to a 7–21 record.[7] In September 1990, the NCAA sentenced the program to two years' probation for numerous major violations dating back to 1985. Their 1987 and 1988 NCAA Tournament appearances were erased from the record books due to Maxwell being retroactively declared ineligible for secretly taking money from a sports agent, and Sloan was slapped with a five-year show-cause penalty that effectively ended his coaching career. The most severe penalty in the long run, however, was a reduction to 13 total scholarships in 1991–92 and 14 in 1992–93, which affected the program for several years. Draconian as those penalties were, the NCAA said that it would have banned the Gators from postseason play and live television in 1990–91 had Sloan still been coach.[8]

Lon Kruger eraEdit

Lon Kruger, former head coach at Kansas State, took over the program before the 1990–91 season. Despite the probation he inherited, Kruger slowly brought the team to increased success and reached the NIT semifinals in his second year as coach. In 1993–94, the pieces fell into place for Florida to have their best season ever at that time.[9] Behind Andrew DeClercq and Dametri Hill, the Gators went to their first Final Four following a dramatic victory over UConn where Donyell Marshall missed two free throws with no time on the clock to force overtime, where the Gators eventually prevailed.[9] They lost to Duke in the national semifinal, 70–65.[9] The next year, they returned to the NCAA tournament, but were eliminated in the first round. Kruger's final season in 1995–1996 resulted in a losing record, and he left to coach at Illinois.

Billy Donovan eraEdit

Florida's Athletic Director, Jeremy Foley, looking for a young coach with a proven track record, hired 30-year-old Billy Donovan, then at Marshall, as Kruger's replacement. His recruiting prowess was evident early, bringing future NBA star Jason Williams with him from Marshall and having early recruiting classes with future NBA players Mike Miller, Udonis Haslem, and Matt Bonner, among others. The Gators made the NCAA Tournament every year from 1999 to 2007, a nine-year streak that is the school record, and the sixth-longest NCAA Tournament streak.

The early yearsEdit

Donovan's first two seasons at Florida proved to be the two worst during his tenure at Florida. The Gators posted a two-year win-loss record of 27–32, missing postseason play entirely in his first season, and losing in the first round of the NIT in his second season. These were the last losing records that the Gators suffered until 2014–15.

In his third season, however, Donovan's Gators finished the season with an overall record of 22–9, and earned the No. 6 seed in the West Regional of the 1999 NCAA Tournament. The Gators defeated Penn and Weber State to advance to the Sweet Sixteen in Phoenix, where they were upset by No. 10 seed Gonzaga.

Donovan took his Gators on a memorable run during his fourth season in Gainesville. The Gators finished the season 29–8, including winning a share of the SEC championship. In the 2000 SEC Tournament, however, the Gators were upset in the second round by Auburn. Florida received the No. 5 seed in the East Regional of the 2000 NCAA Tournament, and swept through the region by beating Butler, Illinois, Duke, and Oklahoma State to reach the Final Four. In the national semifinals, Florida knocked off North Carolina to advance to their first NCAA national championship game, before losing to heavily favored and top seeded Michigan State.[10]

Over the next five years the Gators went to the NCAA Tournament every year, but they found themselves upset victims five straight times in the first or second round. In the 2001 NCAA Tournament, Florida received the No. 3 seed in the South Region. They defeated No. 14 Western Kentucky in the first round, but they were then upset by the No. 11 seed, Temple.

The following year, in 2002, the Gators received the No. 5 seed in the Midwest Region of the 2002 NCAA Tournament. They were knocked off in the first round by No. 12 seed Creighton. The 2003 Florida Gators finished the season 24–7, and received the No. 2 seed in the South Region of the 2003 NCAA Tournament. The Gators easily defeated Sam Houston State in the first round, but were then upset by No. 7 seed Michigan State in the second round. In 2004, the Gators were the No. 5 seed in the East Rutherford Regional of the 2003–2004 NCAA Tournament, but were upset in the first round by the No. 12 seed, Manhattan.

The 2004–05 team had the distinction of being the first to garner an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, when it defeated Kentucky in the 2005 SEC Tournament Championship. The Gators subsequently received the No. 4 seed in the Syracuse Regional of the 2004–2005 NCAA Tournament. They knocked off the No. 13 seed, Ohio in the first round, but lost to No. 5 seed Villanova in the second round.

2005–06 NCAA national championship seasonEdit

The 2005–06 Gator's basketball team with President George W. Bush at the White House following their national championship.

The 2005–06 team began the season unranked and went on a 17–0 winning streak for the best start in school history, surprising many with a young (four sophomores and one junior) but selfless squad following the graduation of David Lee and the departures of Matt Walsh and Anthony Roberson to the NBA. The trio accounted for 60 percent of their offense in 2005. The team faded late in the regular season, losing its last 3 games in February and entering the postseason with a 24–6 record, yet still managed to win its second consecutive SEC Tournament Championship.

The Gators entered the 2006 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament as a No. 3 seed with a 27–6 record, and ranked No. 10 by the AP. They beat No. 14 seed South Alabama and No. 11 seed Milwaukee to advance to the Minneapolis regional. There, the Gators defeated the No. 7 seed Georgetown Hoyas and upset the No. 1 seed Villanova Wildcats 75–62 to avenge their loss in the previous year's tournament and move on to their second Final Four under Donovan.

Florida defeated the upstart George Mason Patriots, the No. 11 seed from the Washington, D.C. regional, by a score of 73–58 in the national semifinals in Indianapolis. On April 3, 2006, the Gators defeated the UCLA Bruins 73–57 in the national final to win the school's first men's basketball NCAA Championship.[11] The University of Florida Athletic Association then purchased the floor used in Indianapolis for the Final Four, and installed it in the O'Connell Center.

2006–07 NCAA national championship seasonEdit

Championship banners in the O'Connell Center

The Gators returned all five starters from their 2006 championship team to begin the 2006–07 basketball season ranked as the preseason No. 1 in both major media polls, a first for the Gators.[12] The Gators locked up the SEC Championship relatively early in the 2006–07 season and were in possession of a 24–2 record before going on a late-February 1–3 skid that mirrored their 0–3 run a year earlier. For the second season in a row, the losses in February would be their last. Florida closed out Kentucky on Senior Night to end the regular season 26–5, and won their third straight SEC Tournament Championship with relative ease, beating Georgia, Ole Miss, and Arkansas 77–56.

Florida entered the 2007 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament as the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament, and they advanced to the Final Four after wins in the regional against No. 5 seed Butler and No. 3 seed Oregon. In a rematch of the 2006 title game, the Gators again eliminated the UCLA Bruins in the national semifinal. Florida defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes 84–75, in a rematch of a game they won 86–60 three months earlier, to become the first team since the 1991–92 Duke Blue Devils to win back-to-back national championships and the first college team ever to repeat as national champions with the same starting line-up. The University of Florida also has the distinction of being the only school in NCAA history to have won both the basketball and football national championships in the same season (won the football championship in January 2007, which was the 2006 season) and the only school in NCAA history to win a combined four national championships in three seasons (football in 2006 and 2008 and basketball in 2006 and 2007).

Following the 2006–07 season, three of the Gators' starting five were drafted among the first ten picks in the first round of the 2007 NBA Draft: Al Horford (third), Corey Brewer (seventh) and Joakim Noah (ninth). Taurean Green and Chris Richard were both selected in the second round. Also during this season, Donovan passed Sloan as the winningest coach in school history.

2008–2010: RebuildingEdit

In the aftermath of the Gators second NCAA championship, Donovan accepted the head coaching position for the NBA's Orlando Magic on May 31, 2007. On June 3, however, it was disclosed that Donovan asked to be released from his contract with the Magic, which was announced when he was reintroduced as the Gators head coach on June 7.

The Gators failed to qualify for the NCAA Tournament in 2008 and 2009. The Gators were eliminated by UMass in the semi-finals of the 2008 National Invitation Tournament. The following season, the Gators were eliminated by Penn State in a quarter-final game of the 2009 National Invitation Tournament. In 2010, the Gators received an invitation to the 2010 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament as a No. 10 seed, but they were eliminated in the first round by No. 7 seed BYU in double overtime.

2011–2013: Three straight Elite Eight appearancesEdit

In the 2011 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, the Gators were the No. 2 seed in the Southeast region after winning the SEC Championship, after being defeated in the 2011 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament Championship Game to Kentucky, and finishing with a 26–7 record. They played their two first games in Tampa, Florida. In the Second Round of the Tournament, Florida beat No. 15 seed, UC Santa Barbara Gauchos. In the third round, the Gators defeated the No. 7 seed, the UCLA Bruins to advance to the Sweet Sixteen in New Orleans. On March 24, 2011, the Gators got some revenge by defeating the No. 3 seed, BYU, who had knocked them out of the NCAA Tournament the year before, by a score of 83–74 in overtime to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2007. Their tournament run ended there as they were stunned in the Regional Final against No. 8 seed Butler in overtime.

In the 2012 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, the Gators were the No. 7 seed in the West Region after losing in the 2012 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament semifinals to Kentucky, finishing with an overall record of 23–10. Florida defeated the No. 10 seed, Virginia, and the No. 15 seed, Norfolk State, to advance to the Sweet 16 in Phoenix. They defeated No. 3 seed Marquette in an upset to advance to the Elite Eight, but their run ended when they were defeated by the No. 4 seed, Louisville, 72–68, after blowing a 65–54 lead with 8:14 remaining in the game.

The 2012–13 Gators finished the regular season with an overall record of 24–6, and won the SEC Championship with a conference record of 14–4. During the regular season, Billy Donovan notched his 400th career win as the head coach of the Gators over Missouri. After losing in the final of the 2013 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament to Mississippi, they entered the 2013 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament as the No. 3 seed in the South Region. Florida defeated the No. 14 seed Northwestern State 79–47 in the first round, and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen after soundly beating the No. 11 seed, Minnesota, 78–64. The Gators then defeated Florida Gulf Coast, No. 15 seed, in the Sweet Sixteen 62–50. But once again, their run ended in the Elite Eight, this time against fourth seeded Michigan, who handily defeated the Gators, 79–59. The Gators became the first team since the expansion of the tournament in 1951 to lose in the Elite Eight in three consecutive seasons.

Florida is the only program in the nation to have advanced as far as the Elite Eight in each of those seasons from 2011–2013.

2014: Return to Final FourEdit

The 2013–14 Gators finished the SEC regular season with an 18–0 record in conference play, the first SEC team to ever accomplish the feat, after the SEC re-expanded to an 18-game regular season schedule prior to the 2012–13 season.[13] In doing so, the Gators won their seventh SEC championship, and their third in four seasons. The Gators then beat the Kentucky Wildcats for the third time in the season to claim their fourth SEC Tournament championship title.

By claiming the SEC Tournament, the Gators earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, and were selected as the No.1 overall seed, and were placed in the South Regional. The Gators' school record win streak reached 30 as they defeated their first four tournament opponents by double digits, finally breaking through in the Elite 8 with a 62-52 win over Dayton to advance to the Final Four as the only remaining No.1 seed. In the national semifinals, Florida faced Connecticut, which had been the last team to defeat them back on December 2, 64–65. The Gators got off to a quick start and built a 16–4 lead, but the Huskies were able to catch up and led 25–22 at halftime in a defensive battle. The Gators continued to struggle to score in the second half and suffered their third (and worst) loss of the season, 53–63.[14][15]

The team's program-best 36–3 record resulted in many individual honors. Billy Donovan was named the SEC's Coach of the Year for the third time. Senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin was named Southeastern Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Year, the SEC Tournament MVP, and the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA South region. Senior center Patric Young was named the Defensive Player and Scholar-Athlete of the Year, junior forward Dorian Finney-Smith was named Sixth Man of the Year, and senior guard Casey Prather was named to the All-SEC First Team.[16]

2015: First losing record in 17 yearsEdit

The 2014–15 Gators finished the season 16–17, 8–10 in SEC play to finish in a tie for eighth place. They did not participate in a postseason tournament for the first time in 17 years. The woeful season included losses to in-state rivals Miami and Florida State, and three losses to SEC champion Kentucky. The Gators' 63.7 points-per-game were their lowest in the 19-year coaching tenure of Billy Donovan. After the season, Donovan accepted an offer to coach the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder. He would leave Florida as far and away the winningest coach in program history. He led the Gators to 14 NCAA tournament appearances, six SEC regular season titles (four outright, two shared) and four SEC Tournament championships–in all three cases, more than all other coaches in program history combined.

Mike White eraEdit

On May 7, 2015, former Louisiana Tech head coach Mike White was hired to coach the Gators, succeeding Billy Donovan. White played point guard at Ole Miss and later served as an assistant there for seven seasons. He is a native of the state of Florida and led Louisiana Tech to three straight conference titles.

In his first season at the helm, he led them to a 21–15 season and a berth in the NIT Tournament, defeating North Florida and Ohio State in the first two rounds before losing to eventual-NIT champion George Washington in the quarterfinal. In his second season the Gators went 24–7 and finished 2nd in the SEC conference standings. After getting a #4 seed in the East Regional, they beat #13 seed East Tennessee, the #5 seed Virginia Cavaliers, and the #8 seed Wisconsin Badgers—who upset the #1 seed Villanova Wildcats—on a last-second three-point buzzer beater by Chris Chiozza, advancing them to the Elite Eight, where they lost to fellow SEC member and #7 seed South Carolina Gamecocks 77–70.

Head coachesEdit

Basketball head coaches Seasons
C. J. McCoy 1915–1916
No team 1916–1919
No coach 1919–1920
William G. Kline 1920–1922
Calhoun Y. "Check" Byrd 1922–1923
James L. White 1923–1925
Brady Cowell 1925–1933
Ben Clemons 1933–1936
Josh Cody 1936–1937
Sam J. McAllister 1937–1942
Spurgeon Cherry 1942–1943
No team—World War II 1943–1944
Spurgeon Cherry 1944–1946
Sam J. McAllister 1946–1951
John Mauer 1951–1960
Norm Sloan 1960–1966
Tommy Bartlett 1966–1973
John Lotz 1973–1980
Ed Visscher 1980
Norm Sloan 1980–1989
Don DeVoe 1989–1990
Lon Kruger 1990–1996
Billy Donovan 1996–2015
Mike White 2015–present


NCAA national championshipsEdit

The Florida Gators have won two NCAA national championships, which is tied for 9th all-time among Division I schools. The Gators won two national championships in 2005–06, and 2006–07 under Billy Donovan. That was the first time any team had won back-to-back national championships since Duke did it in 1991–92, and no Division I men's team has accomplished this since. In addition, the Gators became the first school to ever win a national championship in football and basketball in both the same calendar year and the same academic year (the Gators' football team defeated Ohio State in the 2007 BCS National Championship Game).

Season Coach Site Semifinal result Championship Game result Most Outstanding Player Overall record SEC record
2005–06 Billy Donovan Indianapolis Florida 73, George Mason 58 Florida 73, UCLA 57 Joakim Noah 33–6 10-6
2006–07 Billy Donovan Atlanta Florida 76, UCLA 66 Florida 84, Ohio State 75 Corey Brewer 35–5 13-3
Total NCAA National Championships: 2

SEC Tournament championshipsEdit

The Gators have won four SEC Tournament championships, all under Billy Donovan, including three in a row from 2005-2007.

Season Coach Result Site Overall record SEC record
2004–05 Billy Donovan Florida 70, Kentucky 53 Georgia Dome, Atlanta 24–8 12–4
2005–06 Billy Donovan Florida 49, South Carolina 47 Nashville Arena, Nashville, Tennessee 33–6 10–6
2006–07 Billy Donovan Florida 77, Arkansas 56 Georgia Dome, Atlanta 35–5 13–3
2013–14 Billy Donovan Florida 61, Kentucky 60 Georgia Dome, Atlanta 36–3 18–0
Total SEC Tournament Championships: 4

SEC ChampionshipsEdit

Though the automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament is given to the conference tournament winner, the SEC declares the team with the best record in the regular season the "official" conference champion. The Gators have won a total of seven official (regular season) SEC championships. Norm Sloan won the first one during the 1988–89 season, and Billy Donovan has won the other six, including the 2006–07 season in which the Gators also won the SEC Tournament championship and NCAA national championship, and three in a four-year span from 2011–2014.

The 2013–14 squad became the first team in SEC history to have an 18–0 regular season conference record.

Season Coach Overall record SEC record
1988–89 Norm Sloan 21–13 13–5
1999–00 Billy Donovan 29–8 12–4
2000–01 Billy Donovan 24–7 12–4
2006–07 Billy Donovan 35–5 13–3
2010–11 Billy Donovan 29–8 13–3
2012–13 Billy Donovan 29–8 14–4
2013–14 Billy Donovan 36–3 18–0
Total SEC Championships: 7

Complete postseason resultsEdit

NCAA tournament resultsEdit

Florida has appeared in the NCAA Tournament 21 times. Their combined record is 47–19. However, their appearances in 1987 and 1988 have been vacated by the NCAA making their official record 44–17. They were NCAA National Champions in 2006 and 2007.

Year Seed Round Opponent Results
1987* No. 6 Round of 64
Round of 32
Sweet Sixteen
No. 11 NC State
No. 3 Purdue
No. 2 Syracuse
W 82–70
W 85–66
L 81–87
1988* No. 6 Round of 64
Round of 32
No. 11 St. John's
No. 3 Michigan
W 62–59
L 85–108
1989 No. 7 Round of 64 No. 10 Colorado State L 46–68
1994 No. 3 Round of 64
Round of 32
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
Final Four
No. 14 James Madison
No. 11 Penn
No. 2 Connecticut
No. 9 Boston College
No. 2 Duke
W 64–62
W 70–58
W 69–60 OT
W 74–66
L 65–70
1995 No. 10 Round of 64 No. 7 Iowa State L 61–64
1999 No. 6 Round of 64
Round of 32
Sweet Sixteen
No. 11 Penn
No. 14 Weber State
No. 10 Gonzaga
W 75–61
W 82–74 OT
L 72–73
2000 No. 5 Round of 64
Round of 32
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
Final Four
National Championship Game
No. 12 Butler
No. 4 Illinois
No. 1 Duke
No. 3 Oklahoma State
No. 8 North Carolina
No. 1 Michigan State
W 69–68 OT
W 93–76
W 87–78
W 77–65
W 71–59
L 76–89
2001 No. 3 Round of 64
Round of 32
No. 14 WKU
No. 11 Temple
W 69–56
L 54–75
2002 No. 5 Round of 64 No. 12 Creighton L 82–83
2003 No. 2 Round of 64
Round of 32
No. 15 Sam Houston State
No. 7 Michigan State
W 85–55
L 46–68
2004 No. 5 Round of 64 No. 12 Manhattan L 60–75
2005 No. 4 Round of 64
Round of 32
No. 13 Ohio
No. 5 Villanova
W 67–62
L 65–76
2006 No. 3 Round of 64
Round of 32
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
Final Four
National Championship Game
No. 14 South Alabama
No. 11 Milwaukee
No. 7 Georgetown
No. 1 Villanova
No. 11 George Mason
No. 2 UCLA
W 76–50
W 82–60
W 57–53
W 75–62
W 73–58
W 73–57
2007 No. 1 Round of 64
Round of 32
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
Final Four
National Championship Game
No. 16 Jackson State
No. 9 Purdue
No. 5 Butler
No. 3 Oregon
No. 2 UCLA
No. 1 Ohio State
W 112–69
W 74–67
W 65–57
W 85–77
W 76–66
W 84–75
2010 No. 10 Round of 64 No. 7 BYU L 92–99 2OT
2011 No. 2 Round of 64
Round of 32
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
No. 15 UC Santa Barbara
No. 7 UCLA
No. 3 BYU
No. 8 Butler
W 79–51
W 73–65
W 83–74 OT
L 71–74 OT
2012 No. 7 Round of 64
Round of 32
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
No. 10 Virginia
No. 15 Norfolk State
No. 3 Marquette
No. 4 Louisville
W 71–45
W 84–50
W 68–58
L 68–72
2013 No. 3 Round of 64
Round of 32
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
No. 14 Northwestern State
No. 11 Minnesota
No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast
No. 4 Michigan
W 79–47
W 78–64
W 62–50
L 59–79
2014 No. 1 Round of 64
Round of 32
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
Final Four
No. 16 Albany
No. 9 Pittsburgh
No. 4 UCLA
No. 11 Dayton
No. 7 Connecticut
W 67–55
W 61–45
W 79–68
W 62–52
L 53–63
2017 No. 4 Round of 64
Round of 32
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
No. 13 East Tennessee State
No. 5 Virginia
No. 8 Wisconsin
No. 7 South Carolina
W 80–65
W 65–39
W 84–83 OT
L 70–77
2018 No. 6 Round of 64
Round of 32
No. 11 St. Bonaventure
No. 3 Texas Tech
W 77–62
L 66–69
2019 No. 10 Round of 64
Round of 32
No. 7 Nevada
No. 2 Michigan
W 70–61
L 49–64

* Vacated by the NCAA

NCAA Tournament seeding historyEdit

The NCAA began seeding the tournament with the 1979 edition.

Year → '87 '88 '89 '94 '95 '99 '00 '01 '02 '03 '04 '05 '06 '07 '10 '11 '12 '13 '14 '17 '18 '19
Seed → 6 6 7 3 10 6 5 3 5 2 5 4 3 1 10 2 7 3 1 4 6 10

NIT resultsEdit

The Gators have appeared in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) ten times. Their combined record is 13–12.

Year Round Opponent Results
1969 First Round Temple L 66–82
1984 First Round South Alabama L 87–88
1985 First Round Southwestern Louisiana L 64–65
1986 First Round
Second Round
3rd Place Game
Southern Miss
SW Missouri State
Louisiana Tech
W 81–71
W 77–75
W 54–53
L 58–67
L 62–67
1992 First Round
Second Round
3rd Place Game
W 66–52
W 77–74
W 74–67
L 56–62
L 78–81
1993 First Round Minnesota L 66–74
1998 First Round Georgetown L 69–71
2008 First Round
Second Round
San Diego State
Arizona State
W 73–49
W 82–54
W 70–57
L 66–78
2009 First Round
Second Round
Miami (FL)
Penn State
W 84–62
W 74–60
L 62–71
2016 First Round
Second Round
North Florida
Ohio State
George Washington
W 97–68
W 74–66
L 77–82

Final FoursEdit

The Florida Gators have been to five Final Fours, which is tied for 9th all time among Division I schools.

Lon Kruger took the Gators to their first one in 1994. Florida received the No.3 seed in the East Region (played in Miami). The Gators swept through the region with victories over 14th seeded James Madison, 11th seeded Pennsylvania, 2nd seeded Connecticut and punched their ticket to their first ever Final Four by knocking off the upstart, 9th seeded Boston College. But the Gators then lost to Duke in the national semifinals.

Billy Donovan took them back six years later in 2000, winning the East Region (played in Syracuse, New York) as the No.5 seed. To get to the Final Four, Florida first had to survive a tough test from 12th seeded Butler in the first round in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Trailing 68–67 with time running out, the Gators won on a last second shot by Mike Miller. After that initial test, Florida ran through the rest of the region, easily defeating 4th seeded Illinois, top seeded Duke, and 3rd seeded Oklahoma State to reach the Final Four, where they defeated North Carolina in the semifinals, but lost to Michigan State in the national championship game.

Donovan would get Florida back to the Final Four in 2006, winning the Minneapolis Regional as the No.3 seed with victories over 14th seeded South Alabama, 11th seeded UW-Milwaukee, 7th seeded Georgetown and top seeded Villanova in the Regional Final. The Gators proceeded to knock off upstart George Mason (who won the Washington, D.C. Regional as the No.11 seed) in the semifinals and then handily defeated UCLA in the championship game for their first ever national championship.

The next year, Donovan's Gators would make it not only back to back Final Fours, but back to back national championships as well. They received the top seed in the St. Louis Regional, and defeated 16th seeded Jackson State, 9th seeded Purdue, 5th seeded Butler and 3rd seeded Oregon in the Regional Final to earn a trip to their 4th Final Four. There, they dispatched UCLA in the semifinals and then Ohio State in the title game.

Over the next decade, Florida reached the doorstep of the Final Four several times but were usually turned away. From 2011–2014, the Gators made four consecutive trips to the Elite Eight. Florida held late leads in the first two of them, but could never finish the game and lost each time, first to Butler, then to Louisville, before Michigan blew them out in their third straight Elite 8. Florida finally broke through against Dayton in their fourth straight Regional final appearance and moved on to play eventual 2014 national champions Connecticut in the Final Four, where they were defeated 63–53. After a two year absence from the NCAA Tournament, Mike White got them back to the Elite Eight in 2017, where the Gators were again defeated, this time by SEC rival South Carolina.

Season Coach Region Regional final result Final Four site Semifinal result Championship Game result
1993–94 Lon Kruger Miami, FL Florida 74, Boston College 66 Charlotte, NC Duke 70, Florida 65 N/A
1999–00 Billy Donovan Syracuse, NY Florida 77, Oklahoma State 65 Indianapolis, IN Florida 71, North Carolina 59 Michigan State 89, Florida 76
2005–06 Billy Donovan Minneapolis, MN Florida 75, Villanova 62 Indianapolis, IN Florida 73, George Mason 58 Florida 73, UCLA 57
2006–07 Billy Donovan St. Louis, MO Florida 85, Oregon 77 Atlanta, GA Florida 76, UCLA 66 Florida 84, Ohio State 75
2013–14 Billy Donovan Memphis, TN Florida 62, Dayton 52 Arlington, TX Connecticut 63, Florida 53 N/A
Total Final Four appearances: 5

Home courtsEdit

Florida Gator men's basketball home courts
University Gymnasium 1920–1927
Building R / New Gym 1928–1949
Florida Gym / Alligator Alley 1950–1980
Stephen C. O'Connell Center
(Exactech Arena since 2017)


Florida Gators basketball players who have been recognized as All-Americans include:

SEC Player of the YearEdit

Two Florida Gators have been recognized as the SEC Player of the Year:

Retired numbersEdit

2006–07 NCAA championship starting fiveEdit

Donovan's 2004 recruiting class won two consecutive NCAA championships in 2006 and 2007. The group nicknamed themselves "the 04s" (pronounced "oh-fours")[18] since they enrolled at Florida in 2004. They were known for their camaraderie on and off the court, as Brewer, Green, Horford and Noah were roommates during their entire time in college.[19] All five starters and sixth man Chris Richard later played professionally. All of them, except Humphrey, were selected in the 2007 NBA Draft. Brewer, Horford and Noah were selected in the top 10, while Richard and Green were selected in the second-round.[20]

Gators currently in the NBAEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "UF Identity Style Guide". March 1, 2016. Retrieved March 19, 2016.
  2. ^ Koss, Bill (1996). Pond birds - Gator Basketball: The whole story from the inside. University Press of Florida. ISBN 0813015235.
  3. ^ 2018-2019 Florida Gators Men's Basketball Media Guide (PDF). University of Florida Athletic Association. 2018. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  4. ^ Associated Press, "Ex-N.C. State coach Norm Sloan dead at 77", Sports Illustrated (December 9, 2003). Retrieved January 5, 2013.
  5. ^ "2019-20 Florida Men's Basketball Media Guide (PDF)" (PDF). FloridaGators.com. University of Florida Athletic Association. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  6. ^ McCallum, Jack (14 December 1981). "Four on the Floor in Florida". Sports Illustrated.
  7. ^ Associated Press, "Florida Coach Retires At School's Request," The New York Times (November 1, 1989). Retrieved June 8, 2011.
  8. ^ "Legislative Services Database - LSDBi". web1.ncaa.org.
  9. ^ a b c Kevin Brockway, "Top 25 Gator teams: No.25 1993–94 Men's basketball", The Gainesville Sun (May 31, 2009). Retrieved June 17, 2011.
  10. ^ Kevin Brockway, "Top 25 Gator teams: No.18 1999–2000 Men's basketball", The Gainesville Sun (June 7, 2009). Retrieved June 17, 2011.
  11. ^ Kevin Brockway, "Top 25 Gator teams: No.4 2005–06 Men's basketball", The Gainesville Sun (June 21, 2009). Retrieved June 17, 2011.
  12. ^ Pat Dooley, "Top 25 Gator teams: No.1 2006–07 Men's basketball", The Gainesville Sun (June 25, 2009). Retrieved June 17, 2011.
  13. ^ Spousta, Tom (March 8, 2014). "Gators Overwhelm Wildcats to Cap SEC's First 18–0 Season". The New York Times. Retrieved March 9, 2014.
  14. ^ "DeAndre Daniels sparks UConn to upset of Florida, title game trip". ESPN.com. Associated Press. April 5, 2014. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
  15. ^ Box Score, ESPN.com.
  16. ^ "2014 SEC Men's Basketball Awards Announced" (Press release). The Southeastern Conference. 11 March 2014. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
  17. ^ http://www.gatorzone.com/story.php?id=27562
  18. ^ Bureau, Dave Curtis Gainesville. "Gators place three in top 10".
  19. ^ Kevin Brockway, "Donovan staying; juniors to enter draft", The Gainesville Sun (April 5, 2007). Retrieved June 17, 2011.
  20. ^ DuPree, David (June 28, 2007). "Florida trio tapped in top 10; Celts land Ray Allen". USA Today. Retrieved May 3, 2009.


External linksEdit