After the NCAA Tournament brackets were released on Sunday, the Florida Gators quickly became a popular pick to reach the Final Four as the No. 3 seed in the South Region.
To some, given Florida's struggles in close games and their failure to win a weak SEC Tournament, that might not make any sense. But Andy Hutchins at Alligator Army explains several reasons why the Gators are a popular, and smart, pick to make the Final Four:
Florida has been very, very good this year. And its South Regional bracket is not terrifying. And the Gators have been to two straight Elite Eights. And, most of all, the numbers really favor Florida.
Hutchins goes in depth on each of these points. First off, the Gators are 26-1 in games decided by double digits, including wins over Marquette and Wisconsin. He continues by explaining the circumstances of Florida's losses. Hutchins writes, "And three of the losses came without Will Yeguete, two since Yeguete's return as a diminished player, one without Michael Frazier, and one with Erik Murphy and Kenny Boynton both running to the locker room with injuries."
As far as the South Region, Hutchins deems Kansas the least threatening one-seed and believes the Jayhawks will have a tough time even making it to a potential Elite Eight matchup with the Gators. He also believes they have the easiest second round matchup of any No. 3 seed, and stand a good chance against Georgetown in the Sweet Sixteen. To sum up the path for Florida, Hutchins writes, "I'll take that road to the Final Four over every other No. 3 seed's path. And I might take it over every other No. 2 seed's route, too."
In addition, the Gators have an experienced squad that has made two straight Elite Eights. And last, but not least, "Florida's the best team in the country if you look at efficiency," noting their strong advanced stats.
All in all, Hutchins makes a convincing argument to advance the Gators far in your bracket.