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State of Florida in Women's NCAA Tournament

Updated: Mar 23, 2022

By Darnell Sallins

The NCAA Women's Tournament was revealed Sunday evening. It was the first time that the women's Selection Show was on a Sunday to go along with the men. Also, the March Madness moniker is now associated with the women's tournament as well as the field is expanded from 64 to 68. The state of Florida for the women's tournament is represented very well as six teams from the state are in March Madness.

The six teams:

  • Central Florida Knights (25-3), American Champs

  • Florida Gators (21-10) from the SEC

  • Florida Gulf Coast Eagles (29-2), Atlantic Sun Champs

  • Florida State Seminoles (17-13) from the ACC

  • Miami Hurricanes (20-12) from the ACC

  • South Florida Bulls (24-8) from the American

Now it is a great thing to see six Florida schools in the tournament and the excitement that comes with being in March Madness, however, the excitement will be short lived. As the brackets were being revealed, four of the schools were put head-to-head against one another in two matchups in the first-round while one school is in the First Four, and the last school in put in the same bracket as the defending champs.

Let's break down further

UCF Knights vs. Florida Gators

Two of the most surprising stories from this season are the UCF Knights and the Florida Gators. The Knights shocked everyone with their 25-3 record on the season thus winning the regular season title and the conference tournament title in the American Athletic Conference. Led by their senior guard, Diamond Battles the Knights have on a roll, winning their last three games by at least eight points.

The Knights however draw the other surprising story down in Gainesville with the Florida Gators. The Gators came into this season with interim head coach Kelly Rae Finley who brought a team felt with heart, grit, and determination. The idea was for Finley to coach the team while the AD search for a new head coach, but apparently the new coach was already there. The Gators had one of their best seasons since 2015 going 21-10 on the season. Finley gets the interim tag removed and is the head coach in Gainesville going into the NCAA Tournament.

Two great stories, two great seasons, but one ends on Saturday afternoon. In the seven vs. ten matchup in the Bridgeport Region the Knights take on the Gators in Storrs, Connecticut in the first-round. When there is winner from Saturday's game that will be short lived as well as the winner will most likely face the Monster of the Tournament in the second-seed UCONN Huskies led by coach Geno Auriemma and star point guard, Paige Bueckers in the Round of 32.

Miami vs. USF

The another head-to-head matchup between Florida schools comes in the Greensboro Region as the Miami Hurricanes drew the South Florida Bulls. The Hurricanes came on strong late in the season, getting to the ACC Championship game before falling the North Carolina State Wolfpack. 20-12 on the season and going 10-8 in the ACC, the Hurricanes defend very well allowing 58.4 points per game.

Same can be said for the Bulls of South Florida. Finishing second in the American by nonother that UCF in the regular season and losing the Knight in the American Championship game. The Bulls had 24-8 season with a 12-3 American record, all three loses coming to UCF. The Bulls also defend well even better than their opponent in Miami as the Bulls only allow 53.8 points per game.

This will be a defensive eight vs. nine matchup in the Greensboro Region and just like in UCF/Florida, winners' excitement will be short lived. One team's season will end on Friday in Columbia, South Carolina and the other's will end most likely in the Round of 32 as the winner will see the number one in country in the South Carolina Gamecocks led by coach Dawn Stanley and Player of the Year finalist Aliyah Boston.

Florida Gulf Coast Eagles

Now the great stories and head-to-head matchups are good and fun, but the best team in the state of Florida is nonother than the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles. The most consistent team in all of Florida are the Eagles of Florida Gulf Coast. A 29-2 record on the season and 15-1 in the Atlantic Sun, the Eagles continue to dominate their conference year in and year out. Since joining Division I in 2007, the Eagles have been at the top of the Atlantic Sun Conference. 12 regular season championships, nine Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament championship both including this season.

With all the success and consistency, the Eagles have displayed in the ASUN, that has not transitioned to the NCAA Tournament. Their best finish in the tournament had been the Round of 32 in 2015 and 2018 otherwise it's been first-round exits.

The Eagles have Virginia Tech in the first-round in the 5 vs. 12 matchup in the Spokane Region. This is an interesting matchup as the Hokies and Eagles both defend well while also being able to put the ball in the basket. Both teams allow around 57 points per game but the Eagles score the ball more than the counterpart from the ACC as the Eagles average 78.4 points per game to 70.5PPG for the Hokies.

Here one of the possible 5-12 upsets for the ladies as the Eagles have a real good chance of upsetting the Hokies. Even if they do, the Round of 32 doesn't get easier as they could most likely face the fourth-seed, Maryland Terrapins from the Big Ten and if they pull that upset off then it's the reigning, defending championship out of the PAC-12 and top-seed Stanford Cardinals in the Sweet 16.

Florida State Seminoles

The final and sixth team in the NCAA Tournament is probably the luckiest team in the Florida State Seminoles. With a record 17-13 on the season, it's very shocking that the Seminoles were able to get in the tournament but winning seven of ten games to end the season in late February and early March was enough. Led top scorer Morgan Jones, the Seminoles are getting healthy at the right moment which could bold well for FSU as they are in the First Four game against Missouri State from the Missouri Valley Conference.

This will not be an easy game for the Seminoles as the Lady Bears are no strangers to March Madness. Missouri State has reached the Sweet 16 in the last two tournament before falling to Stanford both times. The Lady Bear lost their best player in Jasmine Franklin back in December to an ACL tear, but the Lady Bears still finished with a 24-7 record.

This First Four matchup is for the 11-seed in the Spokane Region and the winner will see sixth-seed Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday and if the Seminoles pulled these two feats then most likely faceoff with the third-seed LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge for the Round of 32.

Congratulations to all six schools making the NCAA Tournament, a proud moment for the state of Florida as the women's basketball is shining right now.


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