The Seminoles still made the NCAA Tournament on Sunday on the strength of victories over four teams ranked at the time they played and the sixth-most Quadrant 1 victories in the nation (home wins over teams ranked in the Top 30 of the RPI, road wins over teams in the Top 75) and only one loss to a team outside the top-100. Things changed this season under Martin as the Tigers returned to relevancy in a stronger, deeper Southeastern Conference, becoming one of eight SEC programs to make the field of 68. The Gators improbably reached the Elite Eight a season ago when a Chris Chiozza buzzer beater lifted them over Wisconsin in the Sweet 16. FSU (20-11, 9-9 Atlantic Coast Conference) will play its first game on Friday against No. 8 seed Missouri in Nashville, Tennessee. The victor of that game will likely play No. 1 Xavier on Sunday. The No. 8 seeded Tigers will open the tourney against the No. 9 seeded Florida State Seminoles in Nashville.
Missouri's road to the postseason began with a 15-point win over Iowa State on November 10 in the season-opener.
Like the suspension of Jordan Barnett following his early Saturday morning DWI arrest, the latest head-shaking moment for a school that sometimes can't seem to bear any prosperity.
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"It will be the next man up", Martin said, "and we keep moving". Mizzou added Michael Porter Jr.to the mix after the former 5-star returned from a back injury he suffered in the first game of the season. "We've managed to get to this point".
This is Missouri's 27th appearance in the NCAA Tournament, though their 1994 appearance was vacated. FSU was the third seed when it lost to the 11th-seeded Musketeers 91-66 past year. To be in the Big Dance is exciting.
This will be the Seminoles 16th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. A one-week punishment would leave Barnett eligible to return for the second round on Sunday should the Tigers advance. The highly regarded prospect is talented enough to spearhead the Tigers in the NCAA tournament, but he figures to be plenty rusty after missing essentially the entire season following back surgery.