After falling to the Ole Miss Rebels in the finals of the SEC Tournament, the Florida Gators took a small tumble when it came to NCAA Tournament seeding. Thought by many to be a 2-seed if the Gators had won their conference championship, the loss pushed Florida all the way down to…wait for it…3-seed status.
The Gators are the 3-seed in the South Region and will face the 14-seed Northwestern State Demons in the second round (which used to be the first round, but is now the second round because someone insisted on calling the play-in games the first round) on Friday, March 22. The Friday opening game means a victory would have Florida playing again on Sunday, March 24. If the Gators do indeed defeat the Demons, they will face either the 6-seed UCLA Bruins or the 11-seed Minnesota Golden Gophers. Those four play their opening games in Austin, TX.
The South Region isn’t lacking of talented teams. The teams, in order of seeding, include Kansas, Georgetown, Florida, Michigan, VCU, UCLA, San Diego State, North Carolina, Villanova, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Akron, South Dakota State, Northwestern State, Florida Gulf Coast and Western Kentucky. If the Gators can manage to get past their first two opponents, a likely rematch with Georgetown looms in the Sweet Sixteen. If you remember, the Gators and Hoyas played on an aircraft carrier to open the season in a game that ultimately wasn’t counted.
In 2006, Florida won the national championship as a 3-seed. In that tournament, the Gators came out of a region that also included Georgetown, Villanova and Oklahoma. And that, kids, is what we call searching desperately for some link to past glory that we can thrust upon this year’s team.
Until Friday and the start of the true season.