Gators play East Tennessee State in Orlando for NCAA Tournament

( --- The Florida men's basketball team returns to the NCAA Tournament, selected a 4-seed in the East Region.

The Gators open play in Orlando on Thursday against 13-seed East Tennessee State.

The game is set for approximately 3:10 p.m. and will air on truTV.
The Gators (24-8, 14-4 SEC) make their 18th all-time trip to the NCAA Tournament after a season that saw UF play its first 11 games away from home, then finish second in the Southeastern Conference and post a nine-game winning streak in January and February.

"Our guys have withstood a long, grueling season, with only playing a few games at home because of our unique circumstances, and they've handled it well," head coach Mike White said. "They're very deserving of this. We're really excited to play in front of Gator fans in Orlando, but more importantly we have to get back to playing well."
"I'm just glad to be back in the tournament," senior Kasey Hill said. "It means a lot. Now, we have to be really locked in and play our best basketball. Everybody does, because we're going to need everybody to win."
White becomes the fourth coach in program history to lead the Gators to the NCAA Tournament, joining Billy Donovan, Lon Kruger and Norm Sloan, but the first to do so within his first two seasons.
It marks the second time Florida has been a 4-seed, previously reaching the second round from that slot in 2005.

The Gators are 4-0 all-time vs. East Tennessee State (27-7, 14-4 Southern Conference), but have not faced the Buccaneers since 1980. ETSU enters the tournament with nine wins in the previous 10 games and a No. 55 RPI.
The Gators are 39-15 all-time in NCAA Tournament action with two national championships and five Final Four berths.

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