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2019 NCAA Tournament, Florida vs. Nevada, Game Thread: One more dance

I hope the Gators enjoy this dance as much as I will.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Des Moines Practice Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

You know, I could tell you a lot about the matchup between the Florida Gators and the Nevada Wolf Pack (6:50 p.m., TNT or March Madness Live) this Thursday night in the 2019 NCAA Tournament.

I could tell you Nevada has at least one or two future pros, maybe more if we expand the definition of “pro” to mean more than just “NBA player.” There’s Jordan Caroline, whose perimeter game as a wing forward could maybe have gotten him selected in the 2018 NBA Draft had he left his name in the draft. There are Caleb and Cody Martin, twins who share similar games that feature better touch inside than out. There’s Jordan Brown, a towering center that this team can bring in off the bench because it’s that deep. There’s Jazz Johnson, a Portland transfer shooting 45 percent from three.

The Wolf Pack are good, don’t get me wrong.

But so is Florida, right? The Gators may not have an obvious future pro apart from their freshmen — Andrew Nembhard, sure, but maybe Keyontae Johnson, too — but they do have players who have starred as collegians. You know KeVaughn Allen and Jalen Hudson could have big games in them. You know Kevarrius Hayes has been fantastic of late. You know that Noah Locke could catch fire, or that Nembhard could dominate at his preferred pace.

This is a game, then, between two good teams — one, in Nevada, which will be seeking to prove its Elite Eight run from a year ago was no fluke, and another, in Florida, which will be seeking to make its season and some seniors’ careers one game longer. It should be a good game, a hard-fought game, a game worthy of March Madness.

And so I don’t want to get too deep into the weeds when it comes to this one. Florida could win big or win medium or win small, or it could lose close or get blown out. All things are possible, just different levels of likely; I’d rather take the ride than try to spot all the potential potholes on the road.

For once, and maybe for the last time this year, I want to enjoy Florida playing basketball.

That’s what I’m doing today.

And, with luck, it’s what we’ll be doing on Saturday.

Go Gators.