Bracketology Bubble Tracker: Florida has crucial game vs. Kentucky

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This might be last call for the Gators. Because of the strength of their schedule, their slide down the bracket has been slower than it would be for other teams, but Florida has now fallen off the bracket. Since the Gators couldn’t take care of business at home against Alabama and Vanderbilt, they find themselves in the position of having to beat Kentucky.

Bracketology

Jerry Palm’s projected bracket

Florida currently sits at 17-12 entering this game. They have lost three in a row and five of their last seven. If the Gators lose Tuesday, and needs an at-large bid, that will mean finishing the season with 14 losses (assuming a win at last-place Missouri this weekend). That’s a number that is traditionally tough for the committee to swallow. Only six teams have made the tournament with 14 losses. Five of those came in 2011, the first year of the expanded tournament, and that’s the last time it occurred.

This is an important game for Kentucky too, even though they are not a bubble team. This year’s Wildcats haven’t been a good road team, which is largely the reason they have five losses to teams that aren’t likely to make the tournament and another to a team squarely on the bubble. This is another game like that. UK has lost two of three since their dominant four-game winning streak that had us all thinking they had figured things out. That hasn’t happened quite yet.

FLORIDA: vs. Kentucky (7 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Status: Work to do
Record: 17-12, 8-8 SEC | RPI: 48 | Strength of schedule: 14

Florida couldn't stop LSU in a loss to the Tigers on Saturday. (USATSI)
Florida couldn’t stop LSU in a loss to the Tigers on Saturday. (USATSI)

OTHER BUBBLE TEAMS IN ACTION ON TUESDAY

VANDERBILT: vs. Tennessee (7 p.m. ET, SEC Network)
Status: Work to do
Record: 18-11, 10-6 SEC | RPI: 49 | Strength of schedule: 36

Vanderbilt enters today as a First Four participant in my bracket, so you know the margin for error is small. The Commodores are playing their best basketball of the season so far, having won five of their last six. This is definitely a must win. The worst thing that could happen to Vanderbilt right now is a bad loss at home. George Mason at George Washington

GEORGE WASHINGTON: vs. George Mason (8 p.m.)
Status: Work to do
Record: 21-8, 10-6 Atlantic 10 | RPI: 61 | Strength of schedule: 96

The Colonials have been living off home wins over Virginia and Seton Hall. That’s not bad, and may ultimately be what gets them into the tournament. They have more to do to bolster the resume though before they can feel good about their chances. That can’t happen tonight, but a loss to Mason might make talk of resume bolstering irrelevant.

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