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Another rough close to a college basketball season has the Florida Gators on edge this Selection Sunday with the 2017 NCAA Tournament bracket set to be announced at 5:30 p.m. ET on CBS.
The difference this year is that Florida is not worried whether it will get in the tourney — at 24-8 with a solid resume, the Gators will make it with plenty of cushion — but whether its late-season struggles will push it away from a local pod and to a seed two lines higher than it looked to be just over a week ago.
Florida looked to be in as a No. 3 seed in the tournament at the end of February despite a 10-point loss on the road at Kentucky. And while the Gators did get a win and season sweep of Arkansas to open the month of March, consecutive losses to unranked Vanderbilt — the last of which was a 10-point overtime defeat in the quarterfinals of the 2017 SEC Tournament — have them reeling. Florida went from a likely No. 4 seed playing in Orlando — just as it would have as a No. 3 seed — to a potential No. 5 seed that has less chance to benefit from local placement after ending the season on a 1-3 stretch.
Let’s take a look at the Gators’ resume entering Sunday evening.
By Jake Sillick
RPI: 10th | Nonconference RPI: 7th
SOS: 7th | Nonconference SOS: 7th
vs. Top 25 RPI: 3-4 | vs. Top 50: 6-8 | vs. Top 100: 15-8
Major quality wins (1-25 RPI): vs. No. 7 Kentucky, vs./at No. 25 Arkansas
Minor quality wins (26-50 RPI): vs. No. 42 Miami, vs. No. 43 South Carolina, vs. No. 44 Seton Hall
Major bad losses (101+ RPI): None | Minor bad losses (51-100 RPI): None
Road record: 8-4 | Road + neutral-site record: 15-7
Other computer rankings
KenPom: No. 9 (No. 31 offense, No. 4 defense)
Sagarin: No. 10 | ESPN BPI: No. 8
S-Curve (as of March 12)
Team (Region) — First Round Site
1. Villanova (East) — Buffalo
2. Kansas (Midwest) — Tulsa
3. North Carolina (South) — Greenville
4. Gonzaga (West) — Salt Lake City
5. Arizona (West) — Salt Lake City
6. Duke (East) — Greenville
7. Kentucky (South) — Indianapolis
8. Oregon (Midwest) — Sacramento
9. Louisville (Midwest) — Indianapolis
10. Baylor (East) — Tulsa
11. UCLA (South) — Sacramento
12. Florida State (West) — Orlando
13. West Virginia (East) — Buffalo
14. Notre Dame (Midwest) — Milwaukee
15. Florida (South) — Orlando
16. Butler (West) — Milwaukee
Florida still has the body of work this season — despite late losses — to remain a No. 4 seed. And with a lack of top teams near Orlando, Florida, a No. 4 seed should be assigned to Orlando regardless. If the Gators wind up slipping to a No. 5 seed, they would also likely be sent to that pod barring other bracketing principles preventing a placement in Orlando, as the top five seeds are generally given priority.
Why are the Gators at No. 15?
+ Tough strength of schedule, nonconference schedule
+ Solid top 50 RPI record and overall win total
+ Major quality win over Kentucky
+ Ranked high in metrics and computers
+ Eye test (win vs. Kentucky in front of major national audience)
+ Great road record
+ No losses outside of top 50 RPI
– Not enough of major quality wins to warrant a higher seed
– Losses to teams ahead of them in rankings (Gonzaga, Kentucky, Duke, FSU)
– Record since John Egbunu sidelined: 3-3 (committee evaluates teams as they are playing entering the tournament)