The Florida Gators men’s basketball team is on a fantastic run on the court of late. It has apparently very much impressed the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee, which has the Gators ranked No. 11 and in line to receive a No. 3 seed in its initial rankings release of the 2016-17 season.
The Gators would be the No. 3 seed in the South Region, one populated by No. 1 Baylor, No. 2 Virginia, and No. 4 Butler.
Florida and Kentucky would be the SEC’s only two top-four seeds, with SEC co-leader South Carolina left on the outside looking in. Florida would have played four other top-16 teams, with No. 4 Gonzaga, No. 6 Florida State, No. 12 Kentucky, and No. 16 Duke all seeing the Gators so far this season.
The rankings release is part of a new initiative by the NCAA to drum up interest for its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments prior to March, and these rankings mean about as much as the ones released in the fall prior to the College Football Playoff.
But Florida being No. 11 and on the No. 3 seed line with just one marquee win — a blowout of Kentucky — is a bit surprising, given the Gators’ dearth of other big wins. The Gators’ strength of schedule, though, is undoubtedly high, given their lack of true home games, and it’s entirely possible that the Selection Committee is rewarding Florida for its success despite that adversity.