The 4th-seeded Florida Gators (24-8) take on the No. 13 seed East Tennessee State Buccaneers (27-7) in the first round of the East Region. The game will be played at the Amway Center in Orlando on Thursday.
Preview: Florida was the No. 2 seed in the SEC Tournament but was upset by seventh-seeded Vanderbilt. The Gators are led by sophomore guard KeVaughn Allen (13.9 ppg) and senior guard Canyon Berry (12.1 ppg). Big man John Egbunu is out with a torn ACL, which hurts the Gators’ chances of making a deep run.
Florida vs. ETSU pic.twitter.com/TRLDl8wfds
— Gators M-Basketball (@GatorsMBK) March 12, 2017
ETSU won the Southern Conference Tournament with a 79-74 victory over UNC Greensboro. Senior guard T.J. Cromer averages 19.1 points, 3.2 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game to lead the way.
Date: Thursday, March 16
Time: 3:10 p.m. E.T.
TV Channel: truTV
Location: Amway Center in Orlando, Fla.
Announcers: Ian Eagle, Steve Lavin, Evan Washburn
Opening Betting Line: Florida -11.5, via OddsShark
Florida is making its 20th all-time NCAA Tournament appearance. The Gators last went dancing in 2014, when they went 36-3 and reached the Final Four.
This is ETSU’s 10th NCAA Tournament trip. The last time the Bucs made it was as a 16-seed in 2010, when they lost 100-71 to Kentucky. They last won a tourney game in 1992 as a 14-seed, upsetting No.3 seed Arizona.
Prediction: We’ve seen some pundits suggesting this will be an upset special. Florida has lost two games in a row and three of its last four. As we said above, Egbunu’s absence leaves a big void.
We’re not quite ready to say goodnight to the Gators yet, however. In our bracket, Florida pulls this one out.