GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Having straddled the season-long line between resiliency and inconsistency, Florida enters the NCAA Tournament with the hope that March Madness will inspire a team with a middling profile.

The Gators (14-9) received a No. 7 seed despite a recent downturn and will face 10th-seeded Virginia Tech (15-6) on Friday in the first round of South Region bracket.

Their fourth NCAA tourney berth in six years under Mike White epitomizes a half-full/half-empty perspective. The December uncertainty brought on by Keyontae Johnson’s frightening medical issue could’ve derailed everything. Aside from the emotional toll, losing Johnson’s skills was huge — imagine Alabama sans Herbert Jones — yet the Gators were competing for third place in the SEC during the final week of the regular season. On the other hand, they lost three games to teams that weren’t a threat to make the NCAA tourney.



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