Florida Basketball: Highlighting Gators' Top Strengths Heading into Tournament

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IMarch 17, 2013

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 17:  Kenny Boynton #1 of the Florida Gators celebrates his three-pointer in the first half against the Ole Miss Rebels during the SEC Basketball Tournament Championship game at Bridgestone Arena on March 17, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Florida Gators are far from a perfect basketball team, but then again, even America's best teams have proven to be flawed this season.

Billy Donovan's squad came up short in its bid to win the SEC tournament in Nashville, but despite the bitter finish, the Gators will begin their journey to the Final Four in Atlanta as one of the many favorites to win the national championship this April.

With Florida headed to the Big Dance for the fourth consecutive year, here we'll highlight the Gators' biggest strengths. 


Downtown Prowess

One of the best three-point shooting teams in the nation, Florida is hitting 38.2 percent of its long-range shots as a team this season.

Erik Murphy and Michael Frazier are the Gators' two best shooters from outside. Both Murphy and Frazier are shooting better than 45 percent from beyond the arc and have combined for nearly 120 made three-pointers this season.  

But Murphy and Frazier aren't the only Florida players who can knock down outside shots.

What makes the Gators so difficult to guard is the fact that so many of their key players can knock down open shots from deep.

Kenny Boynton, Mike Rosario and Scottie Wilbekin have combined for more than 150 made three-pointers in 2012-13 as well, giving Florida over 275 made threes for the season. That ranks them inside the top 10 in that category nationally.


Ball Movement

The Gators are so good at knocking down three-pointers because of their excellent ball movement. Florida averages 15 assists per game, which ranks tops in the SEC this year and towards the top nationally.

Junior point guard Scottie Wilbekin is leading the way for Donovan's team, averaging five per game. Wilbekin's backcourt mate, Boynton, a senior, is also chipping in three an outing for the Gators. So long as Florida can keep up the crisp passing, it will continue to shine offensively.

Look for Florida's ability to move the ball and play unselfish basketball to pay off in a big way during its NCAA tournament run this year.


Senior Leadership

Upperclassmen are vital when it comes to having success in the NCAA tournament, and Florida has plenty of experienced players to rely on in 2013.

The Gators' three leading scorers, Murphy, Boynton and Rosario are each seniors and have a ton of tournament experience between them. Florida's other key players, Wilbekin and Patric Young are juniors and played key roles for the team in last year's NCAA tournament run when the Gators made a run to the Elite Eight.

Florida's seniors and other upperclassmen will provide leadership in situations of adversity, which the Gators are sure to find themselves in at some point along the way this spring.

Donovan will be at an advantage this March as he more so than most other coaches will be able to put the keys in the hands of his veteran players and watch them go.

Be sure to watch Selection Sunday at 6 p.m. ET to see what seed Florida will get in 2013. Then, don't forget to download our printable 2013 NCAA tournament bracket.

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