TAMPA, Fla. -- Walter Hodge scored 16 points, Dan Werner added 15 points and 13 rebounds, and Florida beat Arkansas 73-58 on Thursday night in the first round of the Southeastern Conference tournament.
Nick Calathes finished with 11 points, seven assists and six rebounds for the Gators, who defeated Arkansas for the fifth time in the last six meetings -- and like many teams in the league -- improved their chances of making the NCAA tournament.
Kentucky, Mississippi State, Alabama and the Gators advanced to the second round, all probably needing at least another victory to get consideration from the NCAA selection committee.
Florida will now face Auburn in a game many believe will amount to a play-in game for the NCAA tournament.
The Gators (23-9) might need to play better than they did against the Razorbacks (14-16) to upset the Tigers.