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ESPN’s Joe Lunardi previews the SEC


Florida basketball is a bit of an enigma at the moment. This team lost seven players during the offseason, and it replaced them with a haul of four experienced players in the transfer portal. Most of this team hasn’t played together before, and the Gators will have to navigate what should be one of the best seasons for SEC basketball in a long time.

ESPN’s Joe Lunardi does think that Florida is going to be a tournament team this season, but he isn’t sold on it to compete for an SEC title. In his breakdown of each conference, he predicts the Gators to finish right in the middle of the SEC pack at No. 7.

He has Florida as the No. 39 overall team, and projects it to be on the NCAA Tournament bubble alongside Mississippi State. In Lunardi’s preseason bracketology, he has the Gators as a No. 10 seed, meaning they’re very close to the bottom of the at-large group.

UF finished fifth in the SEC last year despite its 9-7 conference record, and while the competition may be a bit tougher this time around, the Gators should be able to at least improve on that record with an experienced and talented roster.

Here’s Lunardi’s full breakdown of the SEC, including where each team stands relative to the NCAA Tournament.

SEC

  1. Kentucky (11)
  2. Alabama (14)
  3. Arkansas (16)
  4. Tennessee (17)
  5. Auburn (23)
  6. LSU (33)
  7. Florida (39)
  8. Mississippi State (49)
  9. Ole Miss (69)
  10. Vanderbilt (86)
  11. Missouri (87)
  12. Texas A&M (89)
  13. South Carolina (97)
  14. Georgia (148)

Tournament contenders

  • Final Four: Kentucky, Alabama, Arkansas
  • Sweet 16: Tennessee, Auburn, LSU
  • NCAA Bubble: Florida, Mississippi St.
  • NCAA Round of 64: Ole Miss
  • NIT: Vanderbilt, Missouri, Texas A&M, South Carolina
  • Sleeper: Mississippi St.

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