GAINESVILLE (CBSMiami) – The Florida Gators finished off an undefeated season of SEC play Sunday with a victory over the Kentucky Wildcats for the SEC Championship. The Gators reward was the number one overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.
The Gators were given the top seed in the NCAA tournament’s South Region. That will keep the Gators close to home as the games will be held in Orlando starting Thursday afternoon.
Florida will be playing the winner of the play-in game, or First Four, between Albany and Mt. St. Mary’s. The play-in game will be held Tuesday in Dayton, Ohio.
The Gators have been the hottest team in the country in recent months. Florida has won a school-record 26 straight games including the SEC tournament championship.
Florida also has plenty of experience in the NCAA tournament. Head coach Billy Donovan has won two national championships and last season his Gators team featuring most of the same players reached the regional finals, losing to Michigan.
This year Florida could have some stiff competition to get to the Final Four. Ohio State, Syracuse, UCLA, and Kansas are all in the South Region and could challenge the Gators.
Kansas, the South Region’s two-seed, could be the biggest hurdle the Gators have to overcome to reach the Final Four.
As for the opening round game against Albany/Mt. St. Mary’s, since the tournament was expanded to 64 teams in the early 1980’s, no number one seed has ever lost to a number 16 seed.
The closest a number 16 seed has come to knocking off a number one seed both came in 1989. Princeton lost to Georgetown 50-49 after Alonzo Mourning blocked two shots to knockout the Tigers. Also in 1989, Oklahoma beat East Tennessee State 72-71.