WHO? (15) Santa Barbara Gauchos [18-13, Big West]
WHAT? 2011 NCAA Tournament [Second Round]
WHEN? Thursday, March 17 at 6:50 p.m. (EST)
WHERE? St. Pete Times Forum – Tampa, FL
WHY? For the Florida Gators (26-7), having earned a No. 2 seed has been an immediate point of contention among both fans and media members. Florida was considered a long-shot for a two-seed from the start; after losing the 2011 Southeastern Conference Tournament Championship to Kentucky (a NCAA No. 4 seed), it appeared to be an impossibility. However, the NCAA Selection Committee decided to award the Gators for a strong and impressive season.
Those who feel that Florida should be a No. 3 seed have failed to provide a proper argument as to why they deserve to be slotted lower. Here is how UF compares against the four three-seeds in the NCAA Tournament (bold indicates first-place in a category with underline representing second-place and italics third-place).
|vs. RPI 1-50||11-3 (.786)||9-5 (.643)||12-8 (.600)||8-5 (.615)||9-2 (.818)|
|vs. RPI 1-100||17-4 (.810)||13-7 (.650)||16-9 (.640)||16-6 (.666)||12-4 (.750)|
|vs. NCAA 68||13-3 (.813)||10-6 (.625)||12-9 (.571)||11-5 (.688)||6-2 (.750)|
RPI: Numeric ratings percentage index, SOS: Strength of schedule, NC-SOS: Non-conference strength of schedule, NCAA 68: 2011 NCAA Tournament teams
With Syracuse and Connecticut both in the Big East, choosing between the two would have certainly been difficult, especially considering the way UConn played in their conference tournament. However, the only team out of the four three seeds that should be upset is Brigham Young, which is entering the tournament with both a better RPI and record against the top 50 teams in the nation than Florida. That being said, BYU will be playing without their second-best player, is coming out of a weaker conference (overall) and lost two games this season to NIT-bound New Mexico.
HOW? Though Florida will be playing close to home in Tampa, the arena they are playing in will also host other national powers including Kentucky, UCLA and Michigan State – four schools that travel very well. The Gator Ticket Office has already begun accepting orders from basketball season ticket holders at $77 per session. For more information on how to purchase tickets, please click here.