Sports

Gators move up in ESPN’s Bracketology


A bout of COVID-19 derailed Florida’s start to the SEC slate, is it was supposed to open conference play on the road against Ole Miss last week before that game had to be postponed. As a result, the team has been out of action since Dec. 22 and hasn’t had much of an opportunity to make a statement over the last two weeks.

In spite of that, the Gators are on the rise in the latest bracketology from ESPN analyst Joe Lunardi. They were a No. 10 seed in his prior update, but on Tuesday, he bumped the Gators up to the nine-seed line. However, it isn’t all good news for UF, who sits as the first team among the Last Four Byes, one spot above 10-seeded Mississippi State. That means any more slipups could have this team in a play-in game.

Lunardi has Florida in the West Region opening the tournament against No. 8-seeded West Virginia before a likely matchup against No. 1-seeded Gonzaga in the second round if it won. Possible Sweet 16 opponents include a rematch against Ohio State, and the Gators could face conference-rival Kentucky, the No. 3 seed in the West Region, in the Elite Eight.

As far as the rest of the SEC goes, Auburn leads the way as a projected No. 3 seed while Alabama dropped to the No. 4-seed line, where it is joined by Tennessee. LSU, meanwhile, currently sits as a five-seed.

After a 6-0 start to the season was squandered, this looks like a Florida team that will once again find itself on the NCAA Tournament fringe. Conference play will prove challenging, and the Gators will likely need to score a few upsets to feel good about its positioning come March.

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