Gators Men’s Basketball are back in action Wednesday night as it starts the first round of the National Invitation Tournament hosting Iona.
Gators Men’s Basketball 19-13
The Florida men’s basketball team are coming off a tough regular season and conference tournament as its NCAA Tournament hopes ended early. The Gators fell to Texas A&M in the second round of the SEC Tournament. Florida was struggling in the first half of the game trailing, but managed to cut into the Aggies double-digit lead forcing overtime with two back-to-back three-point baskets from Kowacie Reeves. In overtime, the Gators fell from a buzzer beater shot from Texas A&M’s Hassan Diarra, sealing the Aggies 83-80 win.
The Gators enter the NIT tournament without their head coach Mike White as he begins his new journey as head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs. White’s departure came a few days after the Gators’ defeat in Tampa.
Florida will be under the head coaching of the interim Al Pinkins who joined the Gators program as an assistant coach in 2018
This match up in the NIT marks the eleventh time Florida has entered the tournament. Prior to this matchup the Gators last time playing in the NIT was Mike White’s first year coaching in 2016. This will be the first time since 2009 that Florida as hosted the NIT Tournament at home.
Gators leading scorer Colin Castleton on playing in the NIT Tournament:
“Obviously, it sucked at the beginning, just knowing I wasn’t going to be able to play in the tournament my senior year, but you have to wake up the next day and have a positive mindset,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s another chance to be able to hoop and play the game we love.”
Iona Gaels Men’s Basketball 25-7
The Iona Gaels Men’s Basketball team are under the head coaching of Rick Pitino. Iona enters this matchup with a 17-3 conference record and 25-7 overall record. Winning the Metro Athletic Conference regular season title. Although earning the regular season conference title the Gaels fell to Riders University in the MAAC conference tournament 70-71.
Tip-off is set for 9 p.m. Wednesday. If the Gators defeat Iona they will advance to play the winner out of Xavier and Cleveland State.