Florida Gators: NCAA Tournament Team Preview

Florida Gators NCAA

Florida Gators ( 1 Seed, South Bracket)

Record: 31-2 (18-0 in SEC)

Coach: Bill Donavan

Tournament Berth:  SEC Champion

Big Wins: Kansas, Memphis, Kentucky (2)

Big Loses: Wisconsin, Connecticut

The Florida Gators have had an amazing season, both in and out of the Southeastern Conference (SEC).  They are a consensus number one seed, holding on to the no. 1 rank in the nation as well.  They completed their SEC schedule a perfect 18-0, and are the first team to do so in the SEC.

This season for the Gators started out with quite a few rough patches.  The team experienced both of their losses in the first 31 days, and saw their AP rank fall as far as 19.  After their December second loss to then no. 12 Connecticut, a heartbreaking one pointer on the road, Florida turned things around.  They knocked off two top 20 teams within a week, starting a winning streak that extended all the way through the end of the season.  Entering the SEC championship Tournament, they had won 23 straight games, and are one of the hottest teams in the NCAA.  Though the Gators do not need a conference championship to make the dance, Coach Bill Donovan is still keeping his players focused on winning.  Florida has won three of the last four SEC regular season championships, but has fallen flat in the conference tournament and lost two straight.  Donovan would love to see his team enter the NCAA Tournament on a high note.

Top Players

POINTS

PPG

FG%

FT%

3PT%

C. Prather

14.4

.615

.682

.400

S. Wilbekin

13.0

.396

.748

.400

REBOUNDS

REB

OFF

DEF

BPG

D. Finney-Smith

6.9

2.8

4.2

0.5

P. Young

6.1

2.6

3.5

0.9

ASSISTS

APG

SPG

TO

AST/TO

S. Wilbekin

3.8

1.6

1.8

2.1

K. Hill

3.3

1.3

1.6

2.1

 

Starting Five

C – Patric Young

F – Will Yeguete

F – Casey Prather

G – Michael Frazier II

G – Scottie Wilbekin

Who’s Hot:  The easier question would be, who’s the hottest?   The entire starting five for the Gators have been playing solid basketball all year.  If the team can win the SEC Championship, they have a chance at history.  The last team to win it all and have a winning streak longer than 13 games was Indiana.  The Hoosiers did in in 1976, winning every game and walking away with a perfect season and the title.

Who’s Not:  Florida will have one major disadvantage heading in to the big dance.  They are playing on selection Sunday for the SEC crown, and will have to make a short turnaround to play their first bracket game on Thursday.  The initial game may not slow the Gators down, but as the competition gets tougher, they may find themselves winded, and playing a hot mid-seed team on Saturday.

Outlook:  If Florida makes it to the Sweet 16, look for them to have a good shot at bringing home the crown.  The Gators are one of the best teams entering play Thursday, and will have an above average chance to win it all.

Commentary by Chris Chisam
@ChisamGLV

Sources:
Miami Herald
ESPN
CBSSports.com

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