March Madness is finally here! On Friday, the No. 7 seed Florida Gators (14-9, 9-7 SEC) will walk onto the parquet and face the No. 10 seed Virginia Tech Hokies (15-6, 9-4 ACC) starting at 12:15 p.m. EDT at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana, for the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. Their appearance in the Big Dance represents the payoff for persevering through a difficult season and now UF turns its eyes to the big prize.
The Hokies had a perfectly mediocre season which included an early big win over the then-No. 3 Villanova Wildcats in their second game. They also scored top-25 wins over the Clemson Tigers (No. 24), Duke Blue Devils (No. 19) and Virginia Cavaliers (No. 8) over the course of the season. However, VT sits at No. 48 in the NET rankings heading into the tournament, going 2-3 in Quad 1 and 3-3 in Quad 2 matchups, while going undefeated in Quads 3 and 4.
Historically, Virginia Tech holds an ever-so-slight edge with five wins in the nine games played since the two schools first faced each other in 1961. The last time the Gators tangled with the Hokies was back in 1991 when they faced each other in the Red Lobster Classic in Orlando, Florida, which Tech won, 79-57. Neither team has won consecutive games in the series so far, which suggests that UF is due for a win.
Along with those historical facts, there are a few other interesting numbers of note heading into Wednesday evening’s game. Here is a look at three important digits courtesy of the press notes.