Mar 11, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Florida Gators players react after a loss to the Texas A&M Aggies during the SEC conference tournament at Bridgestone Arena. Texas A&M Aggies won 72-66. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Gators To Take on North Florida in NIT First Round

March Madness has arrived. However, the Florida’s men’s basketball team missed the mark to be included in the NCAA Tournament. Florida isn’t the only SEC team to miss out. Only three SEC teams made it into the 2016 NCAA Tournament; Texas A&M, Kentucky, and Vanderbilt.

Despite not making it to the NCAA Tournament, Florida is a part of the National Invitational Tournament. The Gators are looking to turn things around after falling out of the SEC Tournament in the second round to A&M.

Florida coach Mike White says that his team is not as sharp as they were heading into the SEC Tournament. He is hoping that the NIT will be a chance for some of the younger players to gain some experience.

Florida (19-14) is scheduled to take on North Florida (22-11). The Ospreys were the regular season champions in the Atlantic Sun Conference but lost to Florida Gulf Coast in the conference tournament giving FGCU the NCAA bid.  Florida is seeded number two and North Florida is seeded seventh but the game is being played in Jacksonville due to renovations that are taking place in the O’Connell Center.

The Gators are 4-0 against the Ospreys all-time with all of those games played at home for the Gators. North Florida is very successful against the Atlantic Sun Conference with a record of 10-4 and has an impressive home record (14-2).

The NIT is a chance for teams to shine one last time before the end of the basketball season. For senior players, it’s a bit harder because this is one of their last opportunities to play with their team.

The Gators will take on UNF Tuesday night in Jacksonville and can be heard on Country 103-7 The Gator with coverage starting at 8.25 p.m.

About Michelle Spring

Senior telecommunication and history major at the University of Florida and contributor for ESPN Gainesville 95.3. Baseball and hockey are my favorites, but I love all sports.

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