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Daily Word: Does Florida have what it takes to matter in March?

Each weekday, our college hoops experts discuss the biggest issues, trends and themes in college basketball.

1. The numbers love Florida (21 in RPI, 20 in BPI, 22 in KenPom), yet the Gators remain unranked in both the AP and coaches' polls. Why is there a disconnect?

Andy Katz: Pretty simple. The Gators' first significant win against the field came this past weekend when they knocked off West Virginia. Beat Kentucky and the Gators will surely be ranked.

C.L. Brown: For starters, there aren't any seven-loss teams ranked in either poll. The Gators are 3-4 in games decided by six points (two possessions) or fewer. If Florida would have pulled out a win or two against Purdue, Miami, Michigan State or Texas A&M -- all of which are currently ranked -- then we wouldn't be having this discussion. If Saturday's win over West Virginia is any indication, the Gators are trending in the right direction.

John Gasaway: It's tough to crack the Top 25 when you're 14-7, but I don't suppose Mike White and his players are too concerned about that. The Gators have been playing outstanding defense against their SEC opponents, and Joe Lunardi is showing UF as a solid No. 8 seed. Plus, Florida still gets two cracks at Kentucky -- you haven't heard the last from the Gators.

2. Miami jumped from the ninth-most efficient defensive team in the ACC to third this season. How did the Canes up their D?

Katz: I'm assuming experience. This is a team that has as much experience as any team in the ACC, if not more than most. The attention to detail is clear -- at least in games when the Hurricanes have needed to be more focused. But they have lost their way a bit in some games, such as last week against NC State.

Brown: I don't know if the players have just bought in more, but they're a lot more active. Their deflections and steals have gone up. They're getting out on 3-point shooters better too. ACC opponents are making just 29.9 percent from the 3-point range compared to 35.6 percent last year.

Gasaway: Jim Larranaga's guys have excelled at denying 3-pointers in ACC play, and the Hurricanes also have been fortunate that those opponents have hit just 30 percent of their tries. Put those two facts together and few teams have been hurt less by opponents' 3s than Miami. The Canes also have protected the rim fairly well, with Tonye Jekiri and Kamari Murphy getting most of the credit there.

3. Texas Tech is talked about in bubble conversations, but the Red Raiders are 2-6 in the Big 12. Do you see them as a tournament team?

Katz: No. The Red Raiders would need to completely switch their direction in the second half of the Big 12. Go 6-2 and beat NCAA-bound teams, then maybe they can start to think about a possible bid.

Brown: If the Red Raiders can get to .500 in the Big 12, then we can have a conversation about the NCAA tournament. They're close -- they lost to Baylor and West Virginia by a combined seven points. But as it stands, I'd say Texas Tech is a long shot. The nonconference schedule won't buy any added credibility. So a losing record, even in a loaded Big 12, won't get Texas Tech a bid.

Gasaway: If we're all agreed that this is a wide-open season and there are few truly great teams, the flip side of that will be teams like the Red Raiders having a shot at a bid. The NCAA has to get to 68 somehow, and Tech is a great example of a team that benefits from the strength of its league. Plenty of "good" losses, but Tubby Smith's guys need some W's at some point.