Win or lose this afternoon against Kentucky in the SEC Tournament finals, Florida is assured a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Perhaps, even, the tournament’s overall No. 1 seed.
But that doesn’t guarantee the Gators will get over the hump and reach the Final Four after three straight Elite Eight seasons. Since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, 40.5 percent of No. 1 seeds have reached the Final Four (47 of 116).
Only twice during that span have no No. 1 seeds reached the Final Four, in 2006 and 2011. In 2006, Florida won the national title as a No. 3 seed, knocking off No. 1 seed Villanova in the Elite Eight, No. 11 seed George Mason in the Final Four and No. 2 seed UCLA in the national title game.
Being a No. 1 seed does bode well for the Gators for reaching the Sweet 16 again. No. 1 seeds have ever lost in the Round of 64, and No. 1 seed are 91-15 (.858 winning percentage) since 1985 in the Round of 32.
No. 1 seeds have won 17 national titles since 1985, including Florida in 2007. But after all four No. 1 seeds made the Final Four in 2008, only five No. 1 seeds have made the Final Four since 2009. Louisville won the national title as a No. 1 seed last season, and Kentucky won the national title as a No. 1 seed in 2012.