UF receives 6 seed in Dallas for NCAA Tournament

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Florida guard Egor Koulechov drives past Arkansas' Anton Beard during the second half Friday of quarterfinal game at the Southeastern Conference tournament in St. Louis. Arkansas won 80-72. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Florida is heading to Dallas for the NCAA Tournament as a six seed in the East Region and won’t know its opponent until Tuesday night.

The Gators (20-12) will play Thursday night at the American Airlines Center (9:57 p.m. ET, TruTV), facing the winner of the First Four play-in game between 11 seeds UCLA and St. Bonaventure on Tuesday in Dayton.

“We’re excited to compete in the NCAA Tournament again, which is one of the most unique and special events in all of sports,” Florida coach Mike White said. “I’m happy for our team to have this opportunity, and we obviously have two really good potential opponents to start preparing for.”

Florida has a recent history with both teams. The Gators last faced St. Bonaventure on Nov. 16, 2016 in Lakeland, winning 73-66 in a game decided in the closing minutes.

The Gators have faced UCLA four times since 2006, with all four meetings coming in the NCAA Tournament. Florida won all four times. The last time the two schools met, Florida beat UCLA 79-68 in the Sweet 16 on March 27, 2014 en route to its fifth Final Four appearance in school history.

This season, UCLA (21-11) ranks second in the Pac-12 in scoring at 81.9 points per game. The Bruins are led by junior Pac-12 first-team guard Aaron Holiday, who is averaging 20.3 points and 5.8 assists per game.

St. Bonaventure (25-7) finished second in the Atlantic 10 with a 14-4 conference record and is led by the senior backcourt combo of Jaylen Adams (19.8 ppg) and Matt Mobley (18.5 ppg).

Florida could end up facing third-seed Texas Tech (24-9) on Saturday if it reaches the Round of 32. Texas Tech will face 14th seed Stephen F. Austin on Thursday.

Florida is making its 21st trip to the NCAA Tournament in school history (19 official, two vacated in the 1980s because of NCAA violations) and second straight trip under White. Last season, Florida made a run to the Elite Eight before falling to South Carolina in the East Region finals.

The Gators are 42-16 all-time in NCAA Tournament history and have advanced to the Elite Eight in five consecutive appearances (2011-14, ’17).

White becomes one of just two active SEC coaches to earn an NCAA bid in two of their first three seasons on the bench. He is also the first head coach in UF history to do so.

Per terms of his contract, White will receive a $37,500 bonus for reaching the NCAA Tournament.

If the Gators advance to the Sweet 16, they will play in the East Region semifinals and finals in Boston the following weekend. Villanova is the 1 seed in the East Region, followed by 2 seed Purdue, 3 seed Texas Tech and 4 seed Wichita State.

38 COMMENTS

  1. Gators gonna need to bring their A game to Dallas, if they should escape with two wins in the Big D, their season will come to a crashing halt in the Sweet 16 to a Purdue team that has incredible size and talent.
    Has anyone noticed how weak the South Region is, Virginia should breeze through it. The Midwest is easily the strongest region, with Kansas, Duke and Michigan St.

    • Well, the number one overall seed should be rewarded with the easiest road to the Final Four. Given UVA’s track record in the Dance, though, I’ll take my chances on a UT-UK regional final. What I don’t get is why four teams considered worthy of an 11 seed have to play an extra game on a short turnaround, while two 16 seeds get the full three or four day prep time. Doesn’t make sense to me to punish the 11 seeds that way.

      • Opening Round: St. Bonaventure vs. UCLA (Play-in Games)
        1st Round: UF vs. St. Bonn/UCLA Winner | SF Austin vs. Texas Tech (Round of 64)
        2nd Round: UF/St. Bonn/UCLA Winner vs. SF Austin/Texas Tech Winner (Round of 32)
        Sweet 16: UF/St. Bon/UCLA/SF Austin/Texas Tech Winner vs. Arkansas/Purdue/Fullerton/Butler Winner (Round of 16)

      • way more than Vernon Maxwell, although he was the poster child for bad behavior on the basketball team. Gators came thisclose to a death penalty for the basketball program. When the death penalty was instituted in the 80s, the only schools voting against it were SMU, which actually received the death penalty in football, and UF. UF had a horrible (worse than Auburn!) reputation for NCAA infractions in the 80s due to Charlie Pell first in football, and Norm Sloan in basketball. Both coaches were hired after first acquiring an impressive rap sheet at ACC schools Clemson and NC State respectively. Sloan won a NC at NC State, and Pell set up Danny Ford to win a national championships at Clemson after he left, both schools winning their national championships by cheating. The two coaches continued their ways at UF. Pell achieved what was at the time an NCAA record 107 violations. As the basketball program was the second major offender at UF, it could have received the death penalty. The only thing that stopped it from happening was perhaps a little bit of sympathy? from the NCAA in the wake of the SMU death penalty.

        • And yet NONE of the POINTS that #11 Vernon Maxwell (Hawk) ever scored were PAID FOR! He is the ALL-TIME LEADING SCORER AT THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA! And he was the CLOSEST PLAYER TO MICHAEL JORDAN that the Univ. of Florida EVER had… PERIOD! Hate on him or me, I don’t give a rat’s as$, but Vernon was a SCORER, THE ALL-TIME BEST AT U.F.!!!
          And nobody will take that away from him. Just ask Larry Vettel what he thinks about the ”All-time U.F. scoring record”. Some people like to WHITE WASH history, but those of us who SAW IT with our own eyes, well, we KNOW BETTER!

  2. It will be interesting to see which Gator team shows up. The Gators will only go as far as their heart and desire will lead them. If they play like last game, they will be one and done. If they play like they did against Kentucky, they can make a deep run.

    • Arkansas came to play that game…we had won like what…9 straight against them? So law of averages say they finally get one, but to your point…we kinda let them back in end of 1st half with the dreaded stall ball. Never recovered and they started clicking and played prob their best game inside and out. They kicked our asses.

      St Bonny has fearless, unconscious guards that can go for 30.. I do not like that matchup. Historically we tend
      to always beat UCLA in the tourney though. Hudson is the key…bug games from him and we seem to play well collectively.

        • HA…Good point….I hope not. From recollection We beat them in 2006 for the chip, 2007 in the semis, and 2011 in round of 32 in Tampa…all Howland coached teams. Difference is that Arkansas plays us every year and is generally a good program. It probably be hard to win 9 straight vs UCLA or a similar type program, seeing them every year, wouldn’t you think?.

          If we lose to UCLA and play well, then so be it. You won’t hear me questioning heart or none of that jazz. I fear St. Bonny more…

  3. I hope the Gators go all the way but if they don’t shoot it well they may not even make into the second round. But given they are missing three post players off of a 12 man roster I think Coach White has done a great job just getting them into the ncaa tournament. He deserves a lot of credit. Hey Gators if you end up playing UCLA make sure you don’t leave your wallets in the locker room. I would have much rather seen Notre Dame make the tournament than those losers!

    • Exactly which games did they “mail in”? I’ll give you the second half against Alabama in Gainesville, but other than that, they played hard in the losses, they just didn’t play well, and usually that meant they didn’t shoot well. Why is it that so many fans automatically say the team played with no heart, no fire, and no desire when they lose and just assume those characteristics are present when they win. Sometimes you breeze to wins and heart and desire play no part. Sometimes you play hard and play well and lose anyway, because the other team has good players and coaches that work hard, too.

      • I’m talking about the games against lesser opponents where they “didn’t play well” and lost and acted like they didn’t really want to even be there. Like they had more important things to be doing. Mailing it in to me is lackadaisical effort and there was plenty of that this year. If they had played hard and played well, as you put it, they wouldn’t have blown as many big leads as they did.

        • Fair point. I’m not saying they were playing well when they lost those leads. There was plenty of poor play this season, but I don’t think you can necessarily attribute all the poor play and all the losses to a lack of effort.

  4. Joel Roth said it best: Which Gator team will show up? The one that beat Kentucky twice, Gonzaga, Cinncinnati,, Auburn, Arkansas and Alabama on the road, Tex A&M on the road and had Duke down 17 in the second half before waking up and discovering they didn’t have a post presence. That No. 5 pre-season ranking was with Egbunu and the two other post players (can’t recall their names, but none of them ever showed up in a Gator uniform). So what team will we see. Flip a coin. Ask Chris and Egor and Jalen if they feel like hitting a few threes–and some free throws–or do they want the early flight back to Gainesville? I really believe White never has a CLUE as to which Gator team will show up. It’s up to Chiozza to light the fire. Now, let’s see if Igor and Jaylen can catch that FIRE.

  5. I don’t agree with the fans that are frustrated with this years team. The SEC put 8 teams in the tournament, and several other teams we faced are in there as well, and we have a good enough name where we get everyone’s best every game. Of course, I hated losing to Arkansas, FSU, and that Loyola game, would have rather different losses, but we’re missing 3 big players, that affects practice, ability to go intensely all game and all season when your shorthanded. We’ve got a chance to get some wins against brand name programs, no Manhattan college type team in the first round this year, hopefully we can have some fun.

    • Sorry 2 of the 3 players are true freshman. Engbu just started playing at the end of the season. Saying anything about any of those players make UF fans look like OSU fans, always finding an excuse for losing an having no Heart.
      This team is soft, if they make it past the first 2 rounds were are lucky, UF has already been picked by the experts to lose the first round. I love my Gators but this team = Disappointment.

      • You sound like so many other Gator “fans” who blame every loss on a lack of heart. The Gators lose to Arkansas by 8, and they have no heart. Then, Arkansas gets boatraced by the same UK team the Gators thrashed in Gainesville. Did Arkansas have heart against the Gators and lose it against UK? This is the kind of thing that so-called basketball fans say when they don’t have the knowledge to analyze what actually happened in the game.

        • You sound like one of those rah-rah bury your head in the sand and everything will be hunky-dory fans. Can’t handle some one having a different view of things or will voice opinions that’s not blue skies and roses.

          • I suppose I could be that type of fan, but I don’t think so. The reason I come on here is because I like to read other fans’ opinions, including yours. You obviously have every right to post your opinion, but if I disagree, I don’t mind engaging in a civil debate, either.

      • I disagree GatorGod…The SEC has 8 teams in the tourney for a reason. It’s a pretty good conf top to bottom w/o much separation. Any team can go down to each other.. Auburn has lost 4 of 6 after storming out like gang busters for example. This team is certainly flawed…they live and die by the 3 primarily, so if a few guys are off…it’s a struggle. Some in Our base can be kinda ridiculous…for one we haven’t played game one yet…and 2, you would call it lucky if we are in the sweet 16…smh

    • So tired of hearing the whining about missing/losing 3 bigs this season, none of them played, it’s not like we lost them to injury in January, Egbunu was never an offensive threat, we played better last season without him; please quit the crying and whining about “what if we had those 3 bigs”, really getting old!!! Gee, what if Lamar Jackson had signed with Florida instead of Louisville; wonder if Marvin Bagley III had played for Florida instead of Duke.

      • I see your point to a degree…play with the cards you are dealt, but your really don’t think it would have made difference to have Hayes and more size coming off the bench and playing key minutes ? It does make a difference and affected practice as well. Where I do agree with you is..it’s time to move on. Let’s see what we can do with these cats. I like the way Stone has developed because of the injuries with more playing time and he kinda became a scoring threat as well. We will benefit long term for this IMO.

      • Kevin. If you are tired of hearing about the loss of the three big men, then why are you posting about them? And Florida would have gone to the final four last year if Egbunu has not been lost to injury. And they would have won the SEC regular season title this year if he had played healthy this year. And people would be currently talking about Florida being a final four team if he was preparing to play in the NCAA tourney right now. Tired of it or not, having Egbunu, Stokes, and Johnson healthy this year would have been huge and a major positive for the Gators during the season and right now. If you do not believe that, just ask coach White.

  6. Uhh. What am I missing here?
    East Regional, First Round and 2nd rounds at:

    Dallas TX
    Boise, Idaho
    Wichita , Kansas
    Pennsylvania

    Georgraphy test 101: ARE DALLAS, BOISE AND WICHITA EAST OR WEST OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER?
    WHAT IS MISSING IN THIS GEOGRAPHY LESSON?
    PLEASE PROVIDE ME WITH A ‘POLITE’ ANSWER TO THE GEOGRAPHY KNOWLEDGE OF THE SELECTION COMMITTEE?

    • Agree. Without the injury to Egbunu, Kevarrius would’ve been a career back-up to this point. I saw him hit a couple of 8 foot turnaround jumpers off the glass early this season against Gardner-Webb and UNF and thought maybe he had developed some post moves. Sadly, it appears that those shots were just a product of playing against inferior competition. Maybe he can develop some offensive moves in the off-season, but I’m not holding my breath.

  7. cattrick, it DOES seem silly, but the regions are named for the location of the regional semi and final games. Only the first 4 seeds in each region are guaranteed to spend the first weekend reasonably close to home.

  8. Heart is an intangible. Matchups, depth and talent are tangible and can be observed and discussed, but heart cannot. So if some smarty pants arrives with his secret heart-measuring machine, it doesn’t pay to argue with him because he will always win. What fun is that?
    It’s easy to find a whiner. Just look for the person who complains about others in a way that can’t be refuted. Calling others whiners is just a way to assert ones irrefutable superiority. And sports forums provide no better place. And anonymity gives them courage like no other quality.
    Seems to me that this team showed a great deal of heart. But, what do I know? I’m a “fan.”