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Quick Takes: How will Florida finish?

Dave2015How will Florida finish its season?  That’s a huge question for the Gators, who face a tough closing stretch and an ultra-competitive SEC tournament.  Why does it matter?  Because for all of the Gators’ quality wins, they are sliding.  Their record is sliding, their RPI is sliding, and their perception as an NCAA team is sliding.

Since winning at Kentucky on January 20, Florida’s two wins of note are Baylor and LSU, both of which reside along the cutline.  The Gators are 3-6 during that stretch (their other win was South Carolina).  And here’s what lies ahead … Auburn (home), Alabama (road), Kentucky (home).  With a record of 17-11, their margin is sliding, too.  If the Gators win both home games, tensions ease.  That would put them at 19-12 heading into the SEC tournament with enough Quadrant 1/2 wins to easily make the NCAA tournament.  But what if they finish 1-2 in those last three?  Or, gulp, 0-3?  In those scenarios, Florida would enter its conference tourney at 18-13 or 17-14.  Vanderbilt snuck in last year with a loss-heavy profile – largely due to it overall strength of schedule.  But do the Gators want to test that theory again?  How will Florida finish?  It’s a huge question for the Gators to answer these next two weeks.

Other Quick Takes from Wednesday …

  • Bubble teams Texas and Syracuse lost.  Much like Florida (above), how those teams finish will have a huge impact on Selection Sunday.
  • North Carolina – which won at Syracuse – has certainly found its mojo the past three weeks.  The Tar Heels have won 6 straight ACC games.  Given their schedule and stockpile of quality wins (10 in Q1, tied with Kansas this morning), UNC could still be a No. 1 seed contender if they win at Duke to close the season and make a run through the ACC tournament.
  • Texas Tech lost at Oklahoma State.  Next up: Kansas – with the Jayhawks looking to wrap-up yet another Big 12 title.
  • Penn State lost at home to Michigan, effectively ending their at-large hopes without a magical run at the Big Ten tournament next week.
  • Tough times in Louisville.  From the NCAA denying the Cardinals’ appeal to a whitewashing at Duke on Wednesday night.   The Cardinals are running out of time to fix a record with nothing “bad” but only three wins combined against Quadrants 1/2.  With trips to Virginia Tech and NC State left, sandwiched by a home game against Virginia, it’s now or never.
  • USC won an important game at Colorado.  At some point, winning matters, and the Trojans are 11-5 in the Pac-12 with games left against Utah (away) and UCLA (home), both bubble contenders, by the way.

Another bracket update on Friday.  March is one week away.

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