Florida’s big flop at the Phi Knight Legacy Tournament didn’t lead to the Gators falling out of NCAA Tournament contention entirely, but ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has them on the very edge of the bubble of his latest bracketology update.
Lunardi has Florida in his ‘Next Four Out’ after a 4-3 start that included losses to Florida Atlantic, West Virginia and Xavier. Both the Mountaineers and Musketeers are Tournament-bound teams, according to Lunardi, but there’s no excusing the loss to FAU. Still, [autotag]Todd Golden[/autotag]’s team is considered a borderline Tournament team that could jump into the Last Four In with a quality loss against UConn, which is currently a No. 2 seed, in a week.
For those who don’t follow college hoops closely, bracketology is what the media uses to describe an educated guess at what the field of 68 will look like come Selection Sunday. Lunardi is among the top bracketologists in the nation, and his word is gospel to many. That said, you can only accurately predict so much correctly in a field this large. That means that Florida could wind up in or out if the season ended today. Lunardi’s guess is out, but it’d be a close call.
The “on the bubble” section has four distinct groups: the Last Four Byes, the Last Four In, the First Four Out and the Next Four Out. Obviously, the ins make it into the tournament, and the outs do not, but being in the first four out is much better than being in the next four out. Florida has to play itself into a Tournament spot at this point, whereas a team like Texas A&M could join the field with a loss from a fringe team in the Last Four In.
The SEC is well-represented in Lunardi’s projected field of 68. Tennessee is a No. 3 seed and Auburn is a No. 5 seed in the South; Arkansas is a No. 4 seed in the West; Alabama is a No. 4 seed and Kentucky is a No. 6 seed in the East; and Mississippi State is a No. 7 seed in the Midwest. LSU and Ole Miss would have to win a play-in game to secure the No. 11 seeds in the Midwest and West regions, respectively.
There’s still plenty of time for these projections to change, and trust that they will, but it’s good to keep track of where Florida stands in the grand scheme of things throughout the year. Right now, things don’t look great, but the season isn’t out of reach just yet.
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