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NCAA Basketball Florida GatorsSEC Basketball

Reasons Why the Florida Gators Are the Team to Beat Entering SEC Play

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Can Anyone Stop the Gators?

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Gators started off the 2012-13 college basketball season just as hot as anyone, but they have dropped two games in their past four contests. Although there may be a little reason for concern, the Gators are still the team to beat entering SEC play.

After winning a couple of games in a row, it was possible that the Kentucky Wildcats would be back, but they still managed to come up short against the Louisville Cardinals. Kentucky currently has four losses on the year. Keep in mind that this team only lost two games all of last season.

One thing is for sure and that is Kenny Boynton is going to have to be on top of his game for Florida to win an SEC title. Boynton is the best player on the Gators, but he can be very streaky in both directions at times. Boynton finally seemed to break out of his slump against Air Force in Florida’s last game.

Tennessee and Missouri are both good enough to compete for an SEC title, but will they have what it takes to compete day in and day out in the SEC? Well, the Volunteers did manage to get the No. 2 seed in last year’s SEC tournament, so anything short of that would be a disappointment this season.

As for Missouri, it has a lot of talent, but playing teams like Florida and Kentucky will not be an easy thing.

Whether the case, read on to see reasons why the Gators are the team to beat entering SEC play.

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Tough Out-Of-Conference Schedule

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Florida has not had the easiest out-of-conference schedule in the world, playing the Wisconsin Badgers, Marquette Golden Eagles, Florida State Seminoles, Arizona Wildcats and Kansas State Wildcats.

Out of all of those games, Florida did lose two of them, but the Gators only lost by one point to Arizona on the road and then by six to Kansas State.

Having a tough out-of-conference schedule means that Florida has already been tested this season and it has played a variety of different playing styles.

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Most Complete Team in the SEC

Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Gators entered the season with a very good offense. Although this offense has been great, the Gators’ defense has been just as good.

Florida currently has four players scoring in double digits and all four of those players are capable of having a big game. Kenny Boynton may be the leader of this team, but Florida plays very unselfish basketball and whoever has the hot hand is going to have the big game for the Gators.

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A Deep Bench

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Although Florida has a very solid starting five, its bench is what is going to give them the edge against a lot of teams this year.

Both Casey Prather and Will Yeguete average around six points per game, but it is their defenses that make them so special. Yeguete can guard just about any position and Prather isn’t too far behind him.

Then there is the freshman Michael Frazier II, who is also averaging around six points per game. Frazier can light it up from anywhere on the court when called upon.

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Florida’s Big 3

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kenny Boynton, Patric Young and Erik Murphy. These three players alone would make a great team, but Florida also has a great point guard in Scottie Wilbekin and a proven scorer in Mike Rosario.

Boynton started off the season hot as ever, but he has been in a shooting slump as of recent. However, he still leads the team with 12.5 points per game and he is still one of the best shooting guards in the nation.

Florida may not have an answer if Young fouls out of games, but he is still one of the best big men in the SEC when he is on the court. Young is averaging 11.1 points per game and 6.9 rebounds per game.

Then there is Murphy, who is the most dangerous player on the court at times. Murphy can post players up, drain from deep range and make plays as if he were a point guard.

All three of these players bring a lot of leadership to the Gators and they are a big reason why Florida is the team to beat entering conference play.

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