Florida Basketball: Gators on the outside looking in according to ESPN

Gators as listed as the first team out in the latest edition of Bracketology

Jan 6, 2024; Gainesville, Florida, USA; Florida Gators head coach Todd Golden looks on while
Jan 6, 2024; Gainesville, Florida, USA; Florida Gators head coach Todd Golden looks on while / Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports
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When Mike White was in charge of Florida basketball, the Gators were a constant bubble team that sometimes got into the NCAA tournament and sometimes did not.

And while stylistically the Gators are playing a much different brand of basketball under Todd Golden, the end game result has the 2023-24 squad in a very familiar place for Gator fans.

Florida Basketball: Life on the bubble

Following its loss to Kentucky on Saturday, Florida is 10-4 on the season. The good news for Florida is that none of their four losses can be considered "bad" losses. Baylor, Virginia, and Wake Forest are all respectable enough to not sink Florida's resume.

The problem for Florida is that among there is not enough meat on their ten wins to guarantee a spot in the NCAA tournament. Six of Florida's ten wins are considered "Quad Four" wins based on the NET Rankings system the NCAA uses. Florida's "best" win is currently over 53rd ranked Pittsburgh.

So, while ESPN's Bracketology had Florida as one of the last four teams to receive a bye into the NCAA tournament last week, this week's update now has Florida listed as the first team out of the tournament.

The bad news is this indicates Florida hasn't built up enough cache in their non-conference slate to be able to afford many slip ups during SEC play.

The good news is that given the overall strength of the SEC, Golden and crew will have plenty of opportunities to rack up Quad One and Quad Two wins to help elevate them back into the tournament.

The deeper narrative is that after missing the tournament last season, Golden has to find a way to get into the tournament this season. The "eye test" would tell you that this team is probably better than what their computer rankings shows. But until it translates to meaningful wins, the Gators are stuck with life on the bubble.