After watching Pittsburgh dominate Colorado in the Round of 64, everyone had Florida on upset alert in the 2014 NCAA Tournament’s Round of 32 on Saturday, including us. Pitt beat Colorado with a swarming defense and lots of fast break points, which is what Florida has used during its incredible winning streak. After the Gators’ second-half performance against Pitt, they should no longer be doubted as the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed.
It’s March Madness, so naturally everyone is upset alert in every contest, but after Florida looked beatable against Albany in the “second round” of the tournament, everyone seemingly wrote them off as overrated. Well, you can forget that label after watching Florida beat Pitt the exact same way the Panthers won their first contest against Colorado.
Scottie Wilbekin was incredible on both ends of the floor as his incredible hustle on defense led to super, high-percentage shots for the Gators all game long, but especially in the second half. Patric Young was amazing in the paint protecting the rim with great hands in the passing lanes and blocked shots that resulted in a six-minute scoring drought for Pitt in the second half.
Florida proved that superstars don’t carry championship teams in the NCAA Tournament. Heck, the Gators showed the style of basketball that wins without fail at every level: great hustle on defense and solid ball movement on offense. Wilbekin showed he can spark a team on both ends of the floor, which is arguably as valuable as any amount of points scored by a Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins, and that’s exactly why Florida — a team with “no pro talent” according to many — will continue to advance in this tournament.
See Florida in the South Regional at FedEx Forum by buying tickets from PrimeSport! If Wilbekin can keep up his masterful performance, there’s no stopping the Gators from reaching the Final Four.