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Life On The Bubble

Florida has benefited from a weak bubble this season as teams like Memphis, Seton Hall and USF fell early enough in their conference tournaments to knock themselves out. In addition, the only Mid-Major surprise was St. Mary's over Gonzaga for the West Coast Conference auto bid, but that only solidified the Gaels' bid rather than stealing one.

Tonight's game against Mississippi State is unique in a bubble sense because a win for Florida nearly guarantees an SEC bid. In watching the conference tournaments, it's not out of the ordinary to hear that a team needs two wins to get an NCAA bid. But usually, those wins come against better teams than Auburn and Mississippi State. I'm not saying that Mississippi State is bad, but Florida has already beat them (69-62 on Feb. 6 in Gainesville). In winning two games, UF would be confirming their stellar play when they won 9 of 12 games, not losing 3 of the last 4. 

Mississippi State, because Florida is 9-7 in the league and 3-8 against the RPI top-50, might need another win to seal their bid. Which is why Florida has to be on their toes today. Miss State is fresh and knows that they could have already defeated Florida once this season. The Bulldogs resume is thinner than UF, but in the race for the fourth SEC bid, Miss State would have a huge case if Ole Miss falls to Tennessee today. Miss State's case would include a sweep over Ole Miss and defeating the previously assumed fourth bid in the Gators. The SEC semifinalists that are not named Kentucky, Tennessee and Vanderbilt could clinch NCAA bids.