When the field of 68 NCAA tournament teams is announced on Sunday there is certain to be a surprise and a snub or two. What does the “Bracketology,” say about which bubble teams will make it and who will remain at home?
We know the names of the four Florida teams that will be called, but where will they go to open the tournament and what seed will they receive? If Joe Lunardi, the foremost expert in tournament projections is right, conference tournament performances have hurt some of them.
According to Lunardi, the swami of Bracketology, Florida will earn a fifth seed, but quite possibly a six. Florida State has fallen to a four, but the committee could take them down another spot.
Miami played well down the stretch to earn a No. 7 seed. Florida Gulf Coast, winners of the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament will likely enter the tournament as a 14 seed.
Two weeks ago the Gators had a legitimate shot at a three seed. Unfortunately, they finished the season on a three-game losing streak.
Florida can blame their plunge on Vanderbilt. They lost to the Commodores twice in the span of seven days, who wound up beating the Gators three times this season.
Despite having a Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) ranking of 10th, the selection committee looks at different factors, including how well your team played over the final month. Losing three times to a team (Vandy) with 15 losses does not help your case.
Florida State had a luckluster February and never regained the magic that saw them in the top 10 before five double-digit road losses in the ACC. The Seminoles are still rated 13th in the RPI, but their finish keeps them from earning anything higher than a four seed.
Miami brings in an RPI rating of 42 and played well in the season’s second half. They are perfectly suited to the No. 7 seed Lunardi projects.
Florida Gulf Coast carries an RPI rating of 85, meaning they would be nowhere near the Big Dance without winning their conference title.
For those not aware of Lunardi, he has a sterling track record. Last year he picked 64 of the 68 teams in the field and either the spot-on seeding or within one spot of 60 teams. In 2015 he predicted 66 of the 68 teams with 61 of the 68 seedings being perfect or within one spot.
The bottom line is that fans of Florida’s four tournament teams can pretty much bank on their seed. It is tough to project where teams will open up, but Lunardi makes the case for Florida State playing their first and second games (if they win) at the Amway Center in Orlando. He has the Gators heading to Milwaukee, with the Hurricanes and Florida Gulf Coast off to Indianapolis.
All of the Bracketology becomes official Sunday afternoon at 5:30 p.m.