Tuck: Gators And Wildcats Can Each Make Very Different History
If the Florida Gators win the national title by beating Kentucky, then they will have traveled the easiest path ever for a champion since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
The Gators would surpass UNLV in 1990 for easiest seed path ever by totaling 55. Florida would have beaten a 16-9-4-11-7-8 to accomplish the feat. The Rebels beat a 16-8-12-11-4-3 (54) on their way to the title. UNLV had the easiest road to the Final Four ever with their first four games barely edging out 2008 Kansas (16-8-12-10). Those Jayhawks were part of the first-ever all #1-seed Final Four though, so they had to earn it in the end.
If the Kentucky Wildcats win the title by beating Florida on their 4th try this season, then they will have overcome the most difficult path ever. UK will have knocked off a 9-1-4-2-2-1. That equals 19. The current record is held by the greatest Cinderella champion in NCAA history, Villanova. Those Cats beat a 9-1-5-2-2-1 (20).
If we get a SEC rematch, then it will be one of the most unique NCAA tournament title games ever produced. A team of 4 seniors, winning more games than any group of Gators ever, facing off against a team they've beaten three times already this year, comprised of 5 freshman starters who were counting their NBA millions before ever stepping on campus.
If it happens, the winning side will have a historical footnote attached to them. The losing team will just be a footnote.