It’ll pay off — even if it’s not showing up just yet.
Today’s edition of the Bracket Matrix shows just what Wednesday’s did: Florida two spots from the No. 8 seed line and three from the No. 10 seed line. None of the bracketers have the Gators higher than a No. 8; only very few of them have them at the No. 11 line, and the only one who published a Wednesday bracket showing the Gators there has now bumped up his projection to the No. 10 line.
But it’s important to note is that we’re still at a point when not every bracketer is a) up and running and part of the Matrix or b) updating brackets daily. and c) the Matrix is consequently a bit behind in its own right. The Matrix I linked to yesterday was actually only reflective of what was posted and verified on Tuesday; similarly, today’s has no brackets published on this Thursday as of yet.
So it’s going to be somewhat slow to respond to and reflect bracketology that is only being changed as fast as its creators can. I think Florida is liable to leap up to the No. 8 line on most brackets thanks to the win over LSU, but I’m also not sure we’ll see that until Friday or even Saturday.
Last Game: Florida 81, LSU 66
Florida’s win over the Tigers was a good enough win on the court that it actually hurt the Gators on the team sheet. The NET rankings, which do update daily, now show Florida at No. 31 and LSU at No. 33 — meaning that a home win over LSU is now barely a Quadrant II win rather than a Quadrant I win.
I’m a bit surprised by that dramatic a switch, but it was LSU’s biggest loss of the year and one of Florida’s bigger wins in SEC play, so it probably did more to help and hurt in the efficiency metrics than I’m giving it credit for.
Florida’s chances of getting this win upgraded to a Quadrant I victory would also seem to be somewhat remote. A lot of the teams that LSU would need to leapfrog to get into the back half of the 20s in NET once more are just better than the Tigers to my eye — Auburn, Penn State, Iowa — and LSU’s remaining schedule is not meaty, even though Arkansas bolstered its chances of providing a Quadrant I win by ripping Tennessee on Wednesday.
But if you want to compare Florida and LSU, you now have to compare and contrast a game that Florida led on the road for a while before LSU took over (only for Florida to make a nearly full rally in the final four minutes) and a game that Florida controlled from tip-to-buzzer at home. With nearly identical records, it’d be hard for me to seed Florida behind LSU absent a third matchup in the SEC Tournament.
The Closest Competition
Florida’s still on that No. 9 line with St. Mary’s, Indiana, and Virginia, and the Cavaliers held serve on Wednesday: After allowing just 11 first-half points to Virginia Tech and then letting the Hokies lead with under five minutes to play, Kihei Clark helped stave off what would have been a bad loss and earn Virginia’s fifth consecutive ACC victory.
Much like Florida, Virginia’s actually done a lot of work in conference play: The Cavaliers are a distant fourth in the conference in KenPom, but sit comfortably in fourth in the conference standings, three games clear of 9-8 Syracuse and Notre Dame and just a game back of Duke for third — which they could take this Saturday by upending Duke.
Thursday could be a big day for Florida, as two of the four teams on the Bracket Matrix No. 8 line — Illinois and Arizona State — are on the road, with the Illini visiting Northwestern before the Sun Devils collide with a UCLA team on a five-game winning streak.