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.