2013 NCAA Tournament: Should the Florida Gators Be Worried about the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles?

By Taylor Sturm
Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 3 seeded Florida Gators are expected to end the major Cinderella story of the 2013 NCAA Tournament that has been the No. 15 seeded Florida Gulf Coast Eagles. The Gators have dominated non-conference opposition all season and should continue to do so against the Eagles. However, Billy Donovan and his talented Gators team have room for major concerns in this Sweet Sixteen match-up.

The Gators only win games when Patric Young and Kenny Boynton play well. Erik Murphy has proven he is consistent, and Scottie Wilbekin is playing at a different level than he has been for most of the season.  If one of the key members of the Gators has a bad game, Florida could get behind early and quickly due to the Eagles’ explosive transition game.

Florida’s main concern about the Eagles should be their loss against the team that Florida Gulf Coast plays similarly to – the Arkansas Razorbacks. Andy Enfield has the Eagles believing they can win the national championship, and they are knocking down threes and making free-throws consistently. Confidence and high shooting percentages are what the Razorbacks utilized to stun the Gators in early February. Enfield’s team is far more athletic than Arkansas and can prove to be far more dangerous if left to shoot. Florida has to come into the game wary of the Eagles’ talents.

The Gators cannot afford to get down early to the Eagles. The crowd will be behind Florida Gulf Coast from the very beginning. If Florida wants to survive this possibly tough game, they have to assert their dominance early on in the game and snuff out any hope of another Florida Gulf Coast NCAA Tournament upset.

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