We start a new feature every Friday called “The High Five” which will be five things Pat Dooley thinks about a given subject or five bits of information about something he thinks you would be interested in. In other words, it’s fluid.
The college basketball world was buzzing Thursday night when No. 2 seed Kentucky was knocked out of the tournament by St. Peter’s. It meant, of course, that a St. Peter’s is headed my way.
I started thinking about Florida as a No. 2 seed (while also thinking about how Mike White never lost a first-round NCAA game) and also the Gators seeding when they went to their five Final Fours.
Florida was a number 2 seed twice, losing in the second round in Tampa in 2003 to Michigan State in a game we all saw coming and getting all the way to the Elite Eight before losing to Butler in New Orleans in 2011.
Here are Florida’s Final Four runs:
- 1994: Lon Kruger’s amazing team was a three seed and beat No. 14 James Madison, No. 11 Penn, No. 2 UConn (thanks to a pair of missed Donyell Marshall free throws and No. 9 Boston College).
- 2000: Billy Donovan burst on the scene with this team which was seeded fifth but beat No. 12 seed Butler on the Mike Miller shot in OT, beat No. 4 Illinois coached by Kruger, then No. 1 Duke and No. 3 Oklahoma State to reach the Final Four. There, UF beat No. 8 seed North Carolina before losing the national title game to Michigan State.
- 2006: Florida was the three seed and was able to start its journey in Jacksonville in front of a friendly crowd. The Gators beat No. 14 seed South Alabama coached by John Pelphrey, No. 11 Wisconsin-Milwaukee, No. 2 Georgetown, No. 1 Villanova, No. 11 George Mason and No, 2 UCLA to win its first national title.
- 2007: Florida was the top seed in the tournament and beat No. 16 Jackson State, No. 9 Purdue, No. 5 Butler, No. 3 Oregon, No. 2 UCLA and No. 1 Ohio State. Back. To. Back. Baby.
- 2014: The Gators went in as a No. 1 seed after winning 26 straight games including the SEC Tournament to finish the season. They beat 16th-seeded Albany, No. 9 Pitt, No. 4 UCLA and No. 11 Dayton which had a huge crowd advantage in Memphis. Florida ran out of gas in Arlington losing to UConn in the first semifinal of the Final Four.