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NCAA Tournament 2013: Florida Seniors Will Lead Gators to Deep Run

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 17:  Kenny Boynton #1 of the Florida Gators goes up against Reginald Buckner #23 of the Ole Miss Rebels in the second half of 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
Tyler BrookeSenior Analyst IIMarch 20, 2013

This may not be the same group that led the Florida Gators to two straight national championships, but this year’s team is as talented as anyone in the country.

The Gators had a great season overall.  They went 26-7 and 14-4 in the SEC, while putting up solid wins against Wisconsin and Missouri.  They shot the ball incredibly well, making 48.1 percent of their shots and 38 percent of them from long range.

The defense was even more impressive from the Gators.  They held opponents to 53.7 points per game and only 37.7 percent shooting.  The team has played just as hard on defense as they have on offense, and the numbers show that.

Although the team as a whole has been great, the seniors will be the key to making a deep push in this year’s tournament.  The seniors have been with this team during a first-round exit as freshman and two straight losses in the Elite Eight.  Now, the seniors are in control of the team, and they have a chance to make a big push to bring the program back to the Final Four.

The first senior to look at is Erik Murphy.  He’s progressively gotten more minutes each season at Florida and is now the team’s leading scorer.  He averages 12.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game while shooting 52.8 percent from the field.  Despite being a forward-center, he also has a solid game from long range, shooting 45.6 percent from behind the arc.

Kenny Boynton has been a star on this team for the past four years.  Even though he’s not scoring as much as he did in his first three seasons, the team is benefiting from his willingness to share the ball with the other seniors.  He’s averaging 12.3 points per game while also picking up an average of 3.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists.

Rounding off the trio of seniors for the Gators is Mike Rosario.  He was a star player at Rutgers for his first two years but made the decision to come to Florida after his second season.  He may not be scoring as much as he did in the Big East, but he’s an important part of the offense.  He’s scored 12.3 points per game on 44.4 percent shooting.

They all took different paths, but the seniors on the Gators are all very good players who can carry this team.  The South region is tough, however, with teams like Kansas and Georgetown also making solid cases for a championship run.

As long as the seniors play well, this is one of the best teams in the country.  The seniors have some motivation, so don’t expect them to start getting complacent after a few wins.

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