Florida earned the top overall seeding for this year’s 68-team NCAA tournament field, announced Sunday. The Gators are No. 1 in the South Region and will open play Thursday against the first-round winner of Albany and Mount Saint Mary’s.
Florida went undefeated in the Southeastern Conference en route to its first SEC tournament championship win since 2007, when the Gators won their second of back-to-back national titles.
Other top seedings were awarded to Arizona (West), Wichita State (Midwest) and Virginia (East)
Arizona won the Pac-12 Conference regular season title before losing to UCLA in the Pac-12 tournament championship game on Saturday. The Wildcats open play Friday in San Diego against Weber State.
Wichita State is the nation’s only undefeated team at 34-0 and earned the top stop in the Midwest. The Shockers open Friday in St. Louis against either Cal Poly or Texas Southern.
If the Shockers win that game, they’ll face a tough second-round game against the winner of No. 8 Kentucky and No. 9 Kansas State.
Virginia, which opens East Regional play against No. 16 Coastal Carolina, earned a surprise No.1 seeding after winning the Atlantic Coast regular-season and tournament championships.
The Cavaliers edged out favored Villanova and Michigan, which lost in their conference tournaments, for the final No. 1 spot.
“Virginia’s total resume was very impressive to us,” NCAA selection committee chair Ron Wellman told CBS after the pairings were announced. “They won the ACC regular-season championship and followed it up with the tournament championship. They just continued to impress us throughout the year.”
The Big 12 led all conferences with seven bids, while the ACC, Atlantic 10, Big Ten and Pac-12 each had six teams selected to the field.
Joining Arizona are UCLA, Stanford, Oregon, Arizona State and Colorado.
UCLA, seeded fourth in the South, will open the NCAA tournament Friday against Tulsa in a South Regional game at Viejas Arena in San Diego.
The NCAA title game will be played April 7 in North Texas.