Selection Sunday figures to be tense for fans of many college basketball teams in Florida.
Many programs in the Sunshine State need strong conference tournament showings to punch tickets to March Madness. In addition, some struggling teams still have a puncher’s chance, provided they can conjure up some postseason magic this weekend.
Sports betting is presently illegal in Florida (Read about current Florida online betting options here). While legislators are hard at work hammering out legislation, the following teams will be hard at work in their conference tournaments. Let’s take a look!
Miami trends up, Florida State flounders
The Miami Hurricanes appear fairly safe to be put into the bracket on Selection Sunday. Their 22-9 regular season included a 14-6 mark in Atlantic Coast Conference play. ESPN projects Miami as a No. 10 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Miami’s sheet includes wins over both Duke and North Carolina. The Hurricanes earned a double-bye in the ACC Tournament, as the No. 4 seed in the bracket. They squeaked past Boston College Thursday and face the Blue Devils Friday in the semifinal round.
The Florida State Seminoles, meanwhile, squandered a great start to the 2021-22 season. FSU sat atop the ACC with a 13-5 overall record after a 61-60 victory over Miami in late-January. The Seminoles then lost eight of their next nine, and their ACC Tournament ended with a blowout loss to Syracuse Wednesday. Now 17-14, FSU’s chance at a March Madness at-large bid appears nonexistent.
Gators chomping their nails
Meanwhile, the Florida Gators are on very shaky ground. They finished the regular season with a 19-12 mark and went 9-9 in Southeastern Conference play.
After starting 9-3 (including a road win over Ohio State), Florida finished 10-9 over its last 19 games. While the Gators did salvage a split against highly-regarded Auburn, they were swept by Kentucky and suffered a very bad loss at Ole Miss.
ESPN had them as one of the “next four out” prior to the SEC Tournament. Thursday’s clash with Texas A&M didn’t help Florida’s cause. A buzzer-beater in overtime sent the Aggies to an 83-80 victory, and may have also sent the Gators to the NIT.
Only one other Florida team still alive
The UCF Knights are the No. 6 seed in the American Athletic Conference Tournament. After a win over No. 11 seed USF, and losses by several other mid-major teams Thursday, the Knights are the only other Sunshine State squad with a chance at hearing their name called on Selection Sunday.
They won’t have it easy the rest of the way. Up next for UCF is No. 3 seed Memphis, which ESPN projects as a No. 8 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
In addition, Jacksonville had a chance to earn the ASUN Conference’s automatic bid Tuesday. However, the Dolphins fell to Bellarmine and triggered a wild series of events. Bellarmine is ineligible for March Madness after moving up from Division II just a few years ago. As a result, ASUN regular-season champion Jacksonville State (in Alabama) will move on.