Image Credit: ESPNI
Back in college basketball’s biggest event for the first time since 2014, the Florida Gators (24-8) on Sunday were announced as a No. 4 seed in the 2017 NCAA Tournament.
The Gators will open play on Thursday, March 16 in Orlando, Florida, as a double-digit favorite against No. 13 seed East Tennessee State Buccaneers (27-7) as part of the East Region. UF is 4-0 all-time against ETSU with wins in 1969, 1975, 1976 and 1980. The game will air live at approximately 3:10 p.m. ET on TruTV.
Should Florida advance, it would take on either No. 5 seed Virginia (22-10) or No. 12 seed UNC-Wilmington (29-5) on Saturday. UF is 1-1 all-time against Virginia, which boasts the No. 1 defense in the nation, with both games played in the NCAA Tournament. The Gators beat the Cavaliers 71-45 in 2012.
“Our guys have withstood a long, grueling season, with only playing a few games at home because of our unique circumstances, and they’ve handled it well,” said head coach Mike White. “They’re very deserving of this. We’re really excited to play in front of Gator fans in Orlando, but more importantly we have to get back to playing well.”
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 12, 2017
Here is the entire seed list for the East Region.
7. South Carolina
9. Virginia Tech
13. East Tennessee State
14. New Mexico State
16. Mount Saint Mary’s/New Orleans (play-in game)
Florida, which checked in at No. 14 overall on the NCAA’s 1-68 seed list, is 1-2 against its bracket (0-1 vs. Duke, 1-1 vs. South Carolina) with a couple interesting connections. Former Gators forward DeVon Walker currently plays for Troy, which has a tough task in trying to upset Duke in the first round. Providence, Billy Donovan’s alma mater, is also part of the region and could make it into the tournament via a play-in game against USC. Virginia Tech was the original school of transfer guard Jalen Hudson, who is not eligible to play for the Gators until next season. White’s father, Kevin White, is the athletic director at Duke.