While Florida sat back and rested, the Gators watched their potential second-round opponents in LSU and Georgia battle in a game that took a lot out of both sides, with the Tigers finally prevailing in the first of four games Thursday in Nashville.
LSU jumped out to a 20-point lead in the first half, and it looked like the Tigers would be able to rest Shavon Coleman and Andre Stringer after both got out to hot shooting starts. But Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was not ready to fade away, scoring 25 in the second half to cut LSU's lead to just two points. However, it was too little, too late. Caldwell-Pope had a shot to tie it on an off-balanced 27-footer with under ten seconds left, but it clanked off the rim, and Georgia fell short.
LSU a good matchup for Florida, who eviscerated the Tigers, 74-52, in January despite missing key players. The top-seeded Gators are trying to fight their way to a 3- or maybe even a 2-seed, while LSU would need to win in the quarterfinals and probably again in the semifinals just to receive NCAA Tournament consideration.
Here's a full look at the updated bracket (all times ET):
Thursday, March 14
3:30 p.m.: No. 5 Tennessee vs. Mississippi State (Game 4)
7:30 p.m.: No. 7 Arkansas vs. No. 10 Vanderbilt (Game 5)
10 p.m.: No. 6 Missouri vs. Texas A&M (Game 6)
Friday, March 15
1 p.m.: Florida vs. LSU (Game 7)
3:30 p.m.: Alabama vs. Winner of Game 4 (Game 8)
7:30 p.m.: Kentucky vs. Winner of Game 5 (Game 9)
10 p.m.: Ole Miss vs. Winner of Game 6 (Game 10)
Saturday, March 16
1 p.m.: Winner of Game 7 vs. Winner of Game 8 (Game 11)
3:30 p.m.: Winner of Game 9 vs. Winner of Game 10 (Game 12)
Sunday, March 17
1 p.m.: Winner of Game 11 vs. Winner of Game 12 (Championship Game)