Upsets might help knock uf out of ncaas
NASHVILLE — Unexpected mayhem and Florida's loss to Mississippi State in the quarterfinals of the SEC tournament Friday night might end up costing the Gators a berth in the NCAA Tournament, if the expert analysts and professional bracket watchers are correct.
As of late Saturday evening, Florida was projected as one of the first four teams that will not make the NCAA Tournament, according to ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi.
For a few hours after Friday's loss, Florida remained among the teams expected to get in. But Houston's upset of UTEP in the Conference USA championship game Saturday afternoon shifted the balance for bubble teams such as the Gators because of UTEP's automatic bid. Minnesota's rout of Purdue also moved the Golden Gophers ahead of UF in the final spots.
And then there's Mississippi State. The Bulldogs had been one of the projected first four teams out before defeating Vanderbilt in the SEC tournament semifinals, but Saturday evening Lunardi had the Bulldogs in the tournament. MSU will play Kentucky today in the SEC tournament finals and with a win would receive an automatic bid, which would most likely ensure the Gators won't be among the 64 teams.
Remember, it's all projected at this point.
"Right now, I'd say Mississippi State would be in the tournament," said ESPN/ABC analyst Jimmy Dykes, who called the SEC semifinals and still had Florida among the last teams in Saturday afternoon. "But they can make sure with a win (today)."
Antonya English, Times staff writer