Tuesday, February 26, 2013

3 Reasons Florida Wins the NCAA Title

So you don't think Florida is a National Title contender? Think again. Here are 3 reasons why we project an NCAA Championship for the Gators.

1. Three-point Shooting

Florida is one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the nation. The Gators lead the SEC with 236 made threes and 615 attempted threes. They also lead the conference in 3-point shooting percentage at 38.4%, despite a high number of attempts.

Senior guard Kenny Boynton is a flat-out lethal shooter. Also, stretch-forward Erik Murphy and freshman Michael Frazier II rank first and second, respectively, in 3-point shooting percentage among players in the SEC. So if there is one certainty about this season's Florida squad, it's that their slew of gunners can make a 10-point deficit disappear in a flash. That will be a valuable commodity come tournament time.

2. Defense 

Florida’s offense may fill the stands, but Billy Donovan’s defense deserves much of the credit. Florida ranks third in the nation, allowing just 53.1 points per game. Opponents are shooting a mere 37.3% against Florida. Hear the clank? We do.

Here’s a sabermetric hoops stat for you: Florida ranks second in the nation in defensive efficiency, giving up only 0.84 points per possession. In fact, Florida is the only Power 6 team to rank in the top 5 in both offensive and defensive efficiency

The insight from those stats? During rare shooting slumps, the Gators’ defense is stingy enough to keep them in the game.

3. Experience

If there’s value in experience, the Gators have it. Florida fell to Louisville in last year’s Elite 8, but they appear poised to take the next step in this tournament. 

Despite losing stars Bradley Beal and Erving Walker, the Gators returned a solid core of upperclassmen. Boynton, Murphy and Patric Young all have last year’s tournament run fresh in their memory. With one-and-done becoming more common, having a roster of veterans can make the difference, particularly in pressure situations on the big stage.

Finally, don’t forget that Billy Donovan has been there before as a player and coach. Donovan, Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Calhoun are the only three coaches to win multiple national titles since 2000.

Halfhearted Disclaimer: while past performance is not a guarantee of future success, it can’t hurt. Go with SnapCall.