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USA TODAY Sports has Florida in thick of tournament bracketology

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A recent win over the Auburn Tigers at home has Florida basketball moving up in the major bracketologies as well as back to earning votes in both major polls. A team that was once teetering on the NCAA Tournament bubble now appears to have an inside edge into the Big Dance.

The Gators finally bounced off the bubble in USA TODAY Sports’ bracketology update on Tuesday, which now has the Orange and Blue as a No. 9 seed in the Midwest Region, starting off in Salt Lake City, Utah, along with the No. 1 Arizona Wildcats, No. 8 Michigan State Spartans and No. 16 Merrimack Warriors.

Todd Golden’s team had been among the “first four out” category in its updated bracketologies for three-straight updates prior to the promotion.

The Southeastern Conference is represented by the second-seeded Tennessee VolunteersAlabama Crimson Tide (No. 3), South Carolina Gamecocks (No. 4), Auburn (No. 5), Texas A&M Aggies (No. 7), Kentucky Wildcats (No. 8), Mississippi State Bulldogs (No. 10) and Ole Miss Rebels (No. 11). Ole Miss is also among the last four into the tournament.

Next up for the Gators are the LSU Tigers, who come to Gainesville to take on Florida inside the O’Connell Center on Tuesday, Feb. 13. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET and the game will be broadcast on the SEC Network.

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