By Jake Sillick – OnlyGators.com bracketologist
Florida Gators basketball, as it stands now, would have the NCAA men’s basketball selection committee in a conundrum because the eye test hasn’t really shown any consistency and the criteria the committee uses to determine seedings vary so much.
RPI: 32 | Nonconference RPI: 25 | SOS: 8 (+) | Nonconference SOS: 3 (+)
Road: 3-7 (-) | Neutral sites: 2-1 | Combined: 5-8 (-)
vs. Top 25: 1-5 (-) | vs. Top 50: 2-7 (-) | vs. Top 100: 7-9
Best wins road: No. 80 Georgia (-) | Neutral site: No. 26 Saint Joseph’s (+) | Home: No. 15 West Virginia (+)
Worst losses road: No. 119 Tennessee | Neutral: No. 23 Purdue | Home: No. 74 Florida State
KenPom: 36 | O-rating: 116 (-) | D-rating: 12 (+) | Sagarin Composite: 33
The Gators’ top-25 and top-50 records aren’t great, but Florida’s strength of schedule is very high. It will likely come down to what the committee decides to put more emphasis on. If it rates UF based on its SOS despite its poor record against those teams, the Gators would likely be headed for a 7-8 seed at this time. If not, Florida would be squarely on the bubble with a 10-11 seed and possibly as far out as the First Four.
Here is where the Gators check in according to various bracketologists: Jerry Palm (CBS Sports): 10 seed, Joe Lunardi (ESPN): 8, Reid Forgrave (Fox Sports): 8, Brad Evans (Yahoo! Sports): 11.
Opportunities remaining (RPI): vs. Vanderbilt (65), at LSU (88), vs. Kentucky (12), at Missouri (201) … plus a game or more in the SEC Tournament
Besides the season finale against Missouri, all games left are opportunities for Florida to improve its standing as it is facing top-100 teams, with the lone game against Kentucky a top-15 RPI opportunity. If the Gators can beat Vanderbilt and LSU and finish the regular season 3-1, that would go a long way to putting Florida firmly off the bubble entering the SEC Tournament. Beating Kentucky at home would be massive, but losing won’t hurt too much. Falling to Mizzou could be disastrous and put a ton of pressure on UF as it enters SEC Tournament play. Having zero additional bad losses on the schedule would be perceived very well by the committee.
Regardless of its regular-season finish (3-1 or 2-2), making the semifinals or the final of the SEC Tournament would go a long way in securing an at-large bid at minimum for the Gators. Of course, winning the tournament would result in an automatic bid.
It would be easier if Florida finished in the top four of the SEC standings at the end of the year (a 3-1 finish could do that) as it would result in a double bye for the Gators in the SEC Tournament. Taking down Vanderbilt and LSU is also important for this, as it would give UF a head-to-head advantage vs. LSU and pull it even with Vandy. However, Florida does not own head-to-head tiebreakers against Texas A&M or South Carolina. Those teams losing games to finish below the Gators would help in that regard as the SEC race is very close with Kentucky only one game up on the field and two games separating first through sixth place in the league.