On Sunday night, the 2018 NCAA Tournament selection show announced the field of 68 lucky teams who will be in the big dance for the next few weeks.
Florida, Florida State and Miami - a No. 6 seed in the South Region - were the only schools from Florida to earn invitations. They could have easily made MSU or MI a two-seed in the East, the other No.3 in the Midwest and Purdue a third-seed in the West, and shipped the Boilermakers to Wichita. Nary an upset to be found, with the exception of Texas over Nevada and Kansas State over Creighton. No. 16 seed Penn.
The college game continues to keep pace with general basketball trends, with almost 22 3-pointers attempted, and 7.7 made, per game.
"If Michigan State and Duke both play well", Self said, "they would be two of the heaviest favorites to win the national championship".
And it is a big year for the Big East, which received two No. 1 seeds, for Villanova and Xavier, and has six other top contenders among its 10 teams. TNT airs the game, which tips at 5:50 p.m. on Friday.
Bruce Pearl's SEC regular-season champion Tigers (25-7, 13-5 SEC) were named a 4 seed by the NCAA Tournament committee Sunday evening.
The Gators have faced UCLA four times since 2006, with all four meetings coming in the NCAA Tournament. All have taken place since 1980.
- They all have at least 26 wins entering the tournament.
The Hokies, 21-11 on the season, are the eighth seed in the East Region and earned an at-large bid out of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Alabama will have the advantage of being the stronger defensive team and should dominate on the glass. Purdue ranked second in the nation in 3-point percentage (42.0), but Villanova has the highest-scoring offense at 87.1 points per game. Kyron Cartwright (11.8 points, 5.7 assists) almost led the Friars to Big East tournament championship, having proved themselves with two victories over Xavier and another over Villanova.
Senior Gabe DeVoe is third in scoring this season with a 13.2 average. His 158 career threes places him into the top 10 in Clemson history.
In a year where First and Second Round games are being played in Dallas and the Final Four is hosted in San Antonio, the Aggies will not have the luxury of staying close to home. He leads the team in blocks with 71 (2.2 per game).
The Tigers have been very good from the free throw line this season. The Gators improbably reached the Elite Eight a season ago when a Chris Chiozza buzzer beater lifted them over Wisconsin in the Sweet 16.