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Monday March 24, 2014 Charting the Gators: 3 SEC teams in Sweet 16

Updated: 9:23pm, March 24

CHARTING THE GATORS

Gator champsGAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The Southeastern Conference took quite a beating during the 2013-14 regular season for being down. That fact remains, though, the portrayal was hardly unfair. The league was woefully top-heavy, with one team, Florida Gators, going 18-0 and then sweeping through the postseason tournament. 

As it turned out, the three teams projected in the preseason to contend for the league title all made the NCAA Tournament -- the lone SEC reps to do so -- and remain alive heading into the Sweet 16.

Take a bow Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee.

The SEC is one of three conferences with three teams still playing. The Big Ten has Wisconsin, Michigan and Michigan State, while the Pac-12 has Arizona, UCLA and Stanford.

What does it mean? Not a whole lot, according to Gators coach Billy Donovan.

“If everybody in the SEC was out of the tournament, they’d say, ‘See, I told you the league is no good,’ ” said Donovan, who guided UF to back-to-back national championships in 2006-07 (pictured right). “Now, that we’ve got some teams advancing, [it’s] ‘Wow, the league must be really underrated.' Sometimes, it has to do with match-ups. Sometimes it has to do with who you’re playing. Sometimes it has to do with how well you’re playing. There are a lot of variables.”

And there’s some history.

That three SEC teams are still playing in the Sweet 16 is not a particularly rare occurrence for the conference. Actually, it’s the ninth time it's happened -- and one of those times, the SEC had four teams in the Sweet 16.

Here's a history lesson.

LSU 1986
Teams: Alabama, Auburn, Kentucky, LSU
Fallout: LSU advanced to Final Four (pictured right); Auburn and Kentucky fell in regional final.

1987
Teams: Alabama, Florida, LSU
Fallout: LSU lost in regional final; Alabama and UF lost in Sweet 16.

1993
Teams: Arkansas, Kentucky, Vanderbilt
Fallout: Kentucky advanced to Final Four, losing to Michigan in NCAA semifinals; Arkansas and Vandy lost in Sweet 16.

1995
Teams: Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi State
Fallout: Arkansas lost to UCLA in NCAA final; Kentucky lost in regional final; MSU lost in Sweet 16.

Kentucky champs1996
Teams: Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi State
Fallout: Kentucky defeated Syracuse for NCAA title (pictured right); Mississippi State lost to Syracuse in NCAA semifinal; Arkansas and Georgia lost in Sweet 16.

1999
Teams: Auburn, Florida, Kentucky
Fallout: Kentucky lost in regional final; Auburn and Florida lost in Sweet 16.

2000
Teams: Florida, LSU, Tennessee
Fallout: UF lost to Michigan State in NCAA final; LSU and Tennessee lost in Sweet 16.

2007
Teams: Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt
Fallout: UF defeated Ohio State in NCAA title game; Tennessee and Vandy lost in Sweet 16.

2014
Teams: Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee
Fallout: TBD

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