Will Anyone Challenge the Florida Gators Atop the SEC?
At 15-2 overall and 5-0 within the conference, the Gators have won seven consecutive games overall and for the time being are sitting pretty atop the conference. The next closest contenders to Florida are Ole Miss (4-0) and Alabama (4-1) and although each are within a game of the Gators in the standings, they both remain relatively outside of the conference supremacy discussion for the moment.
Now with that being said, of course Alabama, Ole Miss or any of the other squads that remains in the mix within the upper half of the standings are more than capable of being in striking distance, but Florida has simply looked on another level to begin league play. That, aside from league records, is the overall difference.
Spearheaded by a perimeter attack of Kenny Boynton and Michael Rosario, head coach Billy Donovan continues to receive great balance and all-around effort from front court mates Erik Murphy and Patric Young. The physicality of Young crippled into Murphy’s ability to stretch the floor with his perimeter shooting makes the Gators a match-up nightmare for many.
Their blowout victory over a Laurence Bowers-less Missouri squad initially threw fuel into the fire in this discussion, while another double-digit victory over Georgia on Wednesday night only added to that. Ironically enough their once-a-season match-ups with the aforementioned Ole Miss and Alabama squads will both be played in Gainesville.
There is plenty of time remaining in conference play, so to crown Florida champs at this moment would be ridiculous, but the question and discussion over their potential challengers certainly plays a role in determining the league’s contenders as January nears a close.
Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS