The Florida Gators basketball team (20-12, 11-7 SEC) learned its fate for the 2018 NCAA Tournament on Sunday night.
Despite a quick bounce in the SEC Tournament, the Gators are a No. 6 seed in the East Region. Florida will take on the winner of St. Bonaventure (25-7) and UCLA (21-11) after those two teams battle in the First Four as No. 11 seeds.
St. Bonaventure finished second in the Atlantic 10 conference with a 14-4 record this season. This is the seventh all-time NCAA Tournament appearance for the Bonnies, and their first since 2012.
The Bruins finished 11-7 in Pac-12 play this season and got some big wins in the regular season, including victories over Kentucky and Arizona.
This will be UCLA’s 49th appearance in the tournament. The storied program already has 11 national titles under its belt, including its seven straight from 1967-1973.
This is Florida’s third time earning a No. 6 seed in the tournament, with its last coming in 1999 en route to a Sweet 16 appearance.
No. 6 seeds are 83-49 all-time in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
If the Gators win on Thursday, they will take on the winner of No. 3 seed Texas Tech and No. 14 seed Stephen F. Austin in the Round of 32 on Saturday. Other teams in the East Region include Villanova, Purdue and fellow SEC teams Alabama and Arkansas.
This is Florida’s second consecutive appearance in the tournament and the second in three seasons under head coach Mike White.
“We’re excited to compete in the NCAA Tournament again, which is one of the most unique and special events in all of sports,” White said. “I’m happy for our team to have this opportunity, and we obviously have two really good potential opponents to start preparing for.”
The Gators made it all the way to the Elite Eight last year as a No. 4 seed, and have made it to that round in each of the last five appearances (2011-14, 2017).
Florida comes into the tournament off an SEC Tournament quarterfinals loss to Arkansas, but the Gators had been playing strong with three straight wins to close out the regular season.
Florida will look to regain that momentum and make another deep run.