Florida colleges fighting for March Madness spots

Several teams from Florida are competing for a chance to participate in the March Madness tournament


Jack Kirk, Staff Writer

The March Madness college basketball tournament starts on March 19 and will last until April 8. 68 teams will participate in the bracket to determine the NCAA college basketball national champions. There are eight college teams from Florida trying secure one of these 68 spots in the final bracket.

Only one of these teams, Florida State, is in the Associated Press top 25. They are ranked 12 and have a 25-6 record and are 3-4 against top 25 teams this season. Sophomore forward Mfiondu Kabengele leads the team in points with an average of 13.1 per game on 50.4% shooting, while junior guard Trent Forrest leads the team in both assists and steals. The Seminoles are currently the four seed in the ACC tournament, and will have to win three games to clinch the ACC and make into the final bracket

Miami will also compete in the ACC tournament, where they will be the 12 seed in the tournament and will have to go through four teams to be crowned ACC champions. Their record going into the tournament is 14-17 ,and they are 5-13 in conference play. Sophomore guard Chris Lykes leads the team in points and assists while senior center Ebuka Izundu leads the team in rebounds and blocks.

The University of South Florida will have a shot to make it into the March Madness tournament, currently boasting a 19-12 record overall with a 8-10 conference record. Sophomore guard David Collins leads the team in scoring with 15.3 points per game and freshman forward Alexis Yetna leads the team in rebounds with 9.6 per game. They are the ninth seed in the AAC tournament and will have to win four games to become AAC champions, with the first of these games being against the University of Connecticut on March 14.

USF is not the only college from Florida in the AAC tournament, however, as the University of Central Florida is currently the four seed in the tournament. Their overall record is 23-7 and their conference record is 13-5. Senior guard B.J. Taylor leads the team in scoring with 16.2 points per game, and senior center Tacko Fall leads the team in rebounds and steals. UCF will have to win three games in order to clinch a berth in the March Madness bracket, with their first game being on March 15 against the winner of the Memphis and Tulane game the day prior.

The University of Florida is taking part in the SEC tournament, holding the eight seed and will have to defeat three conference opponents to be SEC champions. They have an overall record of 17-14 and a 9-9 conference record. Their first game will be against the ninth seed Arkansas on March 14.

Bethune-Cookman University is considered a smaller school in the small Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, but they will have a shot at glory if they can win three games from the five seed and get into the final 68 teams. They have a losing record at 14-16, but have a winning conference record at 9-7.

Florida International University (19-12 overall, 10-8 conference) and Florida Atlantic University (17-14 overall, 8-10 conference) are both competing in the Conference USA tournament, being the 7 and 9 seeds respectively. Both will have to win four games in order to advance to March Madness, with FIU playing North Texas and FAU playing LA Tech.

After all of the conference champions are crowned, the remaining spots will be decided out of the best at large teams that left. The final bracket for March Madness will be released on Sunday, March 17.