NCAA Road for Florida Filled with Potholes

TAMPA -- Florida's Friday was already bad enough thanks to their loss to Auburn, but unexpected teams are suddenly making major moves on the final few tournament spots and reducing the Gators' NCAA odds further. There are still a few things which can improve UF's chances today, but things look bleak at the moment.

One nightmare scenario for the Gators is brewing in the Big 12, as Baylor has made a run to the title game after going 5-11 during conference play. Should they defeat Missouri today, that's one less potential spot for Florida or any other bubble team to fill.

That scenario will definitely happen in the Atlantic-10 conference. The league will get three bids to the NCAAs as a result of upsets in both of their semifinals. Xavier fell to Temple 55-53, and Duquesne stunned Dayton 77-66. One of the two will get a spot that otherwise would not have been theirs.

The SEC has two teams looking dangerous to Florida's already slim hopes, as Auburn has won nine of 10 going into their matchup with Tennessee and Mississippi State is alive as well. Neither was expected to be an NCAA team when the event began, meaning if they meet up in the SEC final it will virtually guarantee UF's hopes are through. There's no scenario that makes sense for the conference to get more than four bids, and even three is not assured right now.

Other bad news for Florida Friday included Maryland's upset of Wake Forest and San Diego State advancing in the Mountain West event. Each was believed to be very close to Florida for the final NCAA slots. The Gators highest valued win took a hit as well, with Washington losing to Arizona State in the Pac-10 semifinals. Other than Penn State and South Carolina losing, it was about as bad a day as Billy Donovan could have conceived of for their tournament hopes.

The field of 65 will be set Sunday night at 6:00 on CBS. Should Florida miss it, ESPNU will have the NIT announcement that evening at 9:00.

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