Entering this weekend, I figured that the best case scenario for the Gators was a 3 seed in the NCAA tourney. However, a couple of blow-out losses may have opened some doors for the Gators to sneak into a 2 seed.
Let’s start with the bad news. Had UNC not had that miracle comeback win against the Canes, things would be much easier. I suppose it’s fitting that a Canes chokejob could end up costing the Gators a 2 seed. Connecticut’s big run also may vault them over the Gators, even if the Gators win today. Pitt or Notre Dame winning the Big East tourney would have been ideal.
Here are the teams that will almost certainly be seeded ahead of the Gators, regardless of what happens today.
- Ohio State
- Notre Dame
- San Diego State
That leaves only one 2 spot left for the Gators to have a shot at. That spot will come down to Florida, Texas, BYU, and Connecticut.
Most people seem to think that Connecticut is a lock for the last #2 seed after their impressive 5 day romp through the Big East. I disagree. We see this every year. The committee seems much more willing to seed based on the entire body of work and not let one weekend completely change their opinion of a team. Casual fans see a team on a role in the conference tourney, and let it shape their opinion of a team. Simply put, the committee tends not to let momentum greatly affect their seeding process. Connecticut was likely a 5 seed prior to entering the conference tourneys, and I don’t think the committee has it in them to bump a team from a 5 seed all the way to a 2 based on one weekend.
Another thing that the Gators have going for them is their RPI vs top 50 teams. If the Gators beat Kentucky this afternoon, that would improve their record vs RPI top 50 teams to a whopping 12-2 on the year. The committee seems to love good wins, and the Gators have a plethora of them. Had the Gators taken care of business early on in the year and not racked up those horrible losses early on, we’d be having this discussion about a potential #1 seed rather than a #2.
Regardless of their great weekend, I don’t think Connecticut takes that last 2 seed. If it’s not them, the Gators are just as good a candidate as Texas or BYU.
Of course, all of this is irrelevant without a win this afternoon. Step one is beating Kentucky, which is something that has never come easy for the Gators, especially in tournament play.