Last season, the Florida Gators were the best team in the SEC. They lost the SEC championship game to the Ole Miss Rebels but easily cruised to a No. 3 seed in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. They finished with a 29–8 record and lost in the Elite Eight to the eventual National Championship runners-up, the Michigan Wolverines.
This season, the Gators are expected to finish second in the SEC behind John Calipari and the No.1 Kentucky Wildcats. However, they have every opportunity to take the top spot. Seniors Scottie Wilbekin and Patric Young are two of the best players in the country and can take the Gators to the top.
Look for the Gators’ toughest non-conference games to come against the No. 20 Wisconsin Badgers, the No. 18 Connecticut Huskies, the No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks and the No. 13 Memphis Tigers. If the Gators can win all these games, then they could be the No. 1 or No. 2 team in the country going into SEC play. Unfortunately for Florida, SEC play won’t be any easier.
Once again this season, the SEC is one of the most difficult conferences in the country. The biggest SEC matchup for Florida will be against the No. 1 Wildcats, who they play twice. However, the true test for the Gators will be against the Tennessee Volunteers; Florida has never beaten Tennessee with Cuonzo Martin as head coach. The Gators must beat the Volunteers this season, or they will have trouble winning the National Championship.
Billy Donovan’s team is set up to be one of the top seeds for the 2014 NCAA tournament, but should be expected to drop a few games in SEC play. Florida is a definite Sweet 16 team with National Championship capabilities during the 2013-14 season.