Posted: 6:12 p.m. Friday, March 29, 2013
By Jason Lieser
Florida basketball’s two-week excursion in Texas is coming to an end. The third-seeded Gators face No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast tonight at Cowboys Stadium (10:38 p.m., TBS) for the right to advance to the Elite Eight.
If UF moves on, it will face No. 4 seed Michigan here Sunday. The Wolverines rallied from 10 down with 2:19 left to beat Kansas 89-87 in overtime.
The Sunday winner is the South region champion and will go to next week’s Final Four in Atlanta.
Florida is looking for its third straight trip to the Elite Eight. The past two seasons ended in that round with late collapses against Louisville (2012) and Butler (2011).
The Gators (28-7) stumbled toward the end of the regular season, losing 3 of 6 as they headed into the SEC tournament. They won twice in Nashville before falling to Ole Miss in the title game.
Florida rebounded by stomping Northwestern State to open the NCAA tournament in Austin, Texas, and followed with a 78-64 victory over Minnesota.
Florida Gulf Coast, meanwhile, took a far less conventional path. In fact, its run is unprecedented for a 15-seed. The Eagles (26-10) finished second in the Atlantic Sun Conference, but won their conference tournament to clinch an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
They upended No. 2 seed Georgetown in the first round and knocked out No. 7 seed San Diego State next.