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UF Men’s Basketball: Gators Earn NCAA Tournament Bid as No. 7 Seed

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

BY DENVER PARLER

The Florida men’s basketball team has been selected as a No. 7 seed for the 2021 NCAA Tournament, facing Virginia Tech on Friday in the first round. Location and television information will be announced when available.

It marks the Gators’ 21st all-time NCAA Tournament appearance and fourth under head coach Mike White. Florida is one of 12 teams and the only Southeastern Conference team to make every NCAA Tournament since 2017. Florida is also one of 11 teams to win at least one game in each of the past three NCAA Tournaments, nine of whom are also in the 2021 field with a chance to build on those streaks.

This will be the Gators’ third tournament as a No. 7 seed, losing in the first round in 1989 and making the Elite Eight in 2012 from that slot. If Florida advances, it will face the winner of Ohio State vs. Oral Roberts.

Florida is led into the NCAA Tournament by Gainesville native Tre Mann, who comes in on one of the hottest scoring streaks in recent Gators history. Mann is one of only three Gators over the past 25 seasons to put together four consecutive 20-point games, joining Nick Calathes (Jan.-Feb. 2009) and Matt Walsh (Feb. 2004) and will attempt to become the first during that time with five straight.

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The Gators’ four NCAA Tournament appearances under White are the second-most by any coach in Florida history (Billy Donovan, 14) and exceeds the total number of official NCAA Tournament appearances in program history prior to Donovan’s tenure. The Gators had two appearances under Lon Kruger (1994, ’95) and one under Norm Sloan (1989; 1987 and ’88 appearances were vacated by the NCAA).

Head Coach Mike White
On his reaction to seeing the Gators’ draw:
“Excited to play an ACC opponent, really. Didn’t know if we’d be a seven, eight, nine. I thought we’d land somewhere in there. Excited to be a seven, [but] the number doesn’t really matter. It’s how you play when you get there.”

On how he gauges the way Florida is playing going into the tournament:
“I thought we were playing really well up until these past couple weeks. Our schedule had a lot to do with that, of course, playing three of those four games against NCAA Tournament opponents in Tennessee twice and Missouri, of course. Hopefully, we can regain some momentum, some offensive continuity, offensive rhythm as we get one more shot at it. It’s do or die. But again, that SEC schedule down the stretch was hard for all of us. Some executed a little bit better than others, but overall a really strong year for the SEC. I know Greg [Sankey] and Dan [Leibovitz] and the powers that be in that league have got to be really proud.”

On how much the team is leaning on Tre Mann at this point:
“I think we’ve had some other guys struggle just a little bit, and we’re just struggling a little bit with the overall offensive production and effectiveness – again, against some high-level defenses, of course. And Tre really just kind of bailed us out some of these possessions, especially in the last game where he made it interesting against the Volunteers putting up thirty. He’s really talented. His role has continued to grow here over the course of this year, and he continues to get better. Hopefully, he can finish really strong.”

Southeastern Conference NCAA Tournament Appearances Since 2017
All Four: Florida – 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021
Three: Arkansas – 2017, 2018, 2021; Kentucky – 2017, 2018, 2019; Tennessee – 2018, 2019, 2021
Two: Alabama – 2018, 2021; Auburn – 2018, 2019; LSU – 2019, 2021; Missouri – 2018, 2021
One: Ole Miss – 2019; Mississippi State – 2019; South Carolina – 2017; Texas A&M – 2018; Vanderbilt – 2017
Zero: Georgia

Elite Eights since 2006
7 – Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina
5 – Duke Louisville, Michigan State
4 – UConn, Villanova
3 – Arizona, Gonzaga, Memphis, Michigan, Ohio State, Oregon, Syracuse, UCLA
2 – Baylor, Butler, Kansas State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech, Wisconsin, Virginia, Xavier
1 – Auburn, Davidson, Dayton, Florida State, George Mason, Georgetown, Loyola Chicago, LSU, Marquette, Missouri, Pitt, Purdue, South Carolina, Tennessee, VCU, West Virginia, Wichita State

Teams Appearing in Every NCAA Tournament Since 2017
Florida, Florida State, Gonzaga, Iona, Kansas, Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina, Purdue, Villanova, Virginia, Virginia Tech
Teams who dropped off this list in 2021: Cincinnati, Duke, Kansas State, Kentucky, Nevada, New Mexico State, North Carolina Central, Seton Hall

Teams With At Least One Win in Every NCAA Tournament Since 2017
Duke*, Florida, Florida State, Gonzaga, Kansas, Kentucky*, Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina, Purdue, Villanova,
*Not in 2021 field

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