Florida center Micah Handlogten is tended to after an injury during the first half Sunday of the SEC tournament championship game against Auburn at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. [Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean]

Pat Dooley’s Back Nine: Handlogten’s injury got Tournament committee’s attention

 The Back Nine comes at you after a weekend that included a little bit of everything, kind of like a Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixins, but the bean casserole made you ill.

10. As soon as I saw Micah Handlogten on the floor of the Bridgestone Arena and it looked bad, I switched the sound on. (When I have an issue with one of the announcers, I watch Gator games without sound). At first, I thought the volume was messed up on the main TV. Then I realized there was this incredible hush and the announcers weren’t talking. The emotional postgame interview with Todd Golden told you how much the big center is respected on the team. The Gator Nation is praying hard for you, Micah.

11. He might have made a difference in the title game. Certainly, the Florida team had a tough time battling through the terrible scene with him going off on the stretcher and the blood being mopped up on the floor. It’s difficult to say, because Auburn played elite defense the whole game. Florida looked tired and the Mystery of Riley Kugel just keeps getting stranger and stranger after he didn’t play in either of the last two games. Maybe it can be a Dateline segment.

12. As far as the NCAA Tournament goes, I think Florida dropped down a seed line because of Handlogten’s injury. It’s happened before (remember when Kenyon Martin suffered a broken leg in Cincinnati’s first conference tournament game and the Bearcats dropped from a one to a two?) I’m not saying it’s fair, but if you look at the metrics, there is no way Alabama should be three seeds higher than Florida. This committee did not do a very good job all the way around.

13. Let’s also go back a couple of months and think about where Florida was – desperate for a Quad 1 win and staring another NIT appearance right in the eyes. Now, we’re complaining about being the seven seed in the Big Dance. My hope is that this team starts a renewal of what Gator basketball used to be. Golden is the real deal. Playing your fourth game in four days with a limited bench, dealing with the emotions of what happened on the court less than three minutes into the game and losing to an NCAA team is nothing to be ashamed of.

14. Somehow, some way, Kevin O’Sullivan needs to find a way to get his team to play better on Saturdays. Florida has lost the Saturday game in three straight series. They also have won three straight series, so Friday and Sunday are fine. That was kind of Sully’s plan going into the season, to save Jac Caglianone for Sunday’s so that if you split the first two games, you’d have an advantage on Sunday. The boys better bring their pudding snacks this weekend as they travel to Baton Rouge for a rematch of last year’s national title series.

15. Of course, this time of the year, there is no shortage of things to watch even with the basketball and baseball teams on the road. The 25-4 softball team plays Kentucky in a three-game series at home and the women’s basketball team is playing in the secondary tournament Thursday night against St. John’s at home. You also have lacrosse at home. Also, men’s tennis at home Friday and Sunday against the Mississippi schools.

16. And, of course, a lot of us will be glued to the TV Saturday night to watch the SEC Gymnastics Championships. I think with all of that going on, it might be time for me to get a third TV for the office.

17. Tip of the visor to the Florida golf team for bringing home more hardware at the Chris Schenkel Clambake. The Gator boys are playing really well. And to Scottie Scheffler for winning a second straight Players Championship. That hole-out for eagle on No. 4 certainly got him going. I’m not sure I ever made a par on that hole.

18. You might be expecting an Irish theme for the playlist because Sunday was St. Patrick’s Day. But it’s kind of like New Year’s Eve – I leave it to the amateurs. I’m Irish every day:

  • The cover version of “Beware of Darkness” by Sheryl Crow with Eric Clapton on lead guitar, Sting singing harmony and Brandi Carlile chipping in on vocals. This George Harrison song is one of my 10 favorite post-Beatles songs by a Beatle.
  • “Cigarette Daydreams” by Cage The Elephant.
  • And for an old one, I remember Robbie Andreu and I putting three albums on our record player when we were in junior college every night (in my day, we didn’t have fancy I-phones and we liked it) when we would go to sleep and one of them was “Get Ready” by Rare Earth. (Also, a cover that The Temptations did earlier).

WRUF.com sports columnist Pat Dooley can be heard on “The Tailgate” along with Jeff Cardozo from 4-6 p.m. Monday-Friday on 98.1-FM/AM-850 WRUF.

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