LSU opens NCAA tourney play on Thursday vs. Yale

Jeremy Esbrandt  D'Vel

Jeremy Esbrandt D'Vel

The Florida State Seminoles will open the NCAA Tournament as a #4 seed and will play their first game on Thursday against Vermont in Hartford, Connecticut as FSU looks to improve upon last year's tournament success, which saw the Noles make it to the Elite Eight. We didn't get the calls.

After downing the 26-5 LSU Tigers in the SEC quarterfinal on the back of the gutsy three by Nembhard, there's no way the Gators don't qualify for the NCAA Tournament.

LSU is the No. 1 seed in this tournament.

The Gators split their series with the Tigers in the regular season, taking a win on the road and falling to LSU at home.

The No. 3 seed was exactly what the Tigers deserved after going one-and-done in the SEC Tournament.

Incredible, right? Even more so was how we wound up here. Florida called timeout with 4:27 to play.

"Whether they fouled me or not, it doesn't really matter at this point", Nembhard said. "We couldn't execute. We shot ourselves in the foot down the stretch".

Florida's strength of schedule put them ahead of the pack, not requiring an at-large bid to get into the tournament.

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Assistant coach Tony Beford is serving as the Tigers' interim coach during the tournament as FBI and internal investigations are conducted.

The Gators are 4-0 ATS in their last four neutral-site games and 5-1 ATS in their last six versus a team with a winning straight-up record.

Florida turned things around Thursday in part because leading scorer Allen broke out of his personal slump.

This game felt much more like a consolation prize and warm-up to the other semifinal, with some of the biggest cheers coming on a reminder that Kentucky-Tennessee was up next. That 3-point shot started a 17-4 run that helped Florida seal the victory. Florida needs to win with defense, but I think that will be a challenge against Auburn.

They accepted their trophy as the league's regular-season champs from SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey before tipoff in a subdued ceremony. "I thought we settled in really on both sides". "To come on this stage and not play as well we've been playing is kind of disappointing".

This will be the 37th meeting between Arkansas and Florida and the second meeting this season. Auburn scored 20 points off the 19 turnovers. His 12 rebounds were just one off his career high. "They wanted it a lot more".

SC waits to learn whether it gets an NIT invitation.

LSU shot 47.6 percent (30 of 63), while Florida made almost 60 percent of its second-half shots and finished at 46.4 percent (26 of 56).

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