After winning the 2017 Southern Conference tournament last week the Bucs learned on Sunday that they will play the Florida Gators in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday at 3:10PM in Orlando Florida.
ETSU will be making their first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2010 when they faced Kentucky as a 16 seed. This time around the Bucs will be a 13 seed, which is their highest seed since 2004. That year ETSU was a #13 as well and nearly upset Cincinnati, losing 76-73.
ETSU finished the regular season at 27-7, just one win away from tying a school record for wins.
The 4th seeded Florida Gators finished 24-8 and second in the SEC, however the Gators also lost three out of their last four, including a first round loss to Vanderbilt in the SEC tournament. Florida’s big man, John Egbunu, was also lost for the year due to an injury suffered on February 14th versus Auburn.
ETSU and Florida have three opponents in common from the regular season. Mercer, Tennessee and Mississippi State. Like ETSU, Florida beat both Mercer and Mississippi State. Only difference is Florida won at home versus Tennessee by 13 points, where ETSU lost at home to Tennessee by four points.
The Gators have opened as 10 point favorites but ETSU seems to be a favorite among several national sports broadcasters to pull off the upset, including Jon Rothstein of CBS and Jay Bilas of ESPN.
If ETSU wins it will be their first NCAA tournament win since 1992, which is when the Bucs famously beat the 3rd seeded Arizona Wildcats 87-80.
Below is the ETSU basketball’s team reaction to drawing Florida in the first round during the selection show.