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FSU basketball projected to make NCAA Tournament again in 2017-2018

And surprisingly comfortably.

NCAA Basketball Tournament - Second Round - Xavier v Florida State Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The 2016-2017 college basketball season is recently in the books, as the North Carolina Tar Heels captured yet another national championship. And while the Florida State cagers’ run wasn’t anywhere near as long as that of the Heels, it was an important season anyway, as the Seminoles returned to the Big Dance for the first time in half a decade. And if ESPN’s resident Bracketoligist Joe Lunardi is correct, the ’Noles will repeat that feat in the season ahead.

Lunardi’s early projection of next season’s field again features more Atlantic Coast Conference teams (eight) than any other conference, and includes FSU. Lunardi has the Seminoles as a 7-seed in the East Region, beginning play against 10-seed Indiana in Pittsburgh. Lunardi’s top seed in the region? The Florida Gators.

This is a rather lofty projection for Florida State, which saw Jonathan Isaac, Dwayne Bacon, and Xavier Rathan-Mayes declare early for the NBA Draft, and loses big men Jarquez Smith and Michael Ojo to graduation.