On Saturday afternoon the Florida Gators put an end to the Cinderella story of the Dayton Flyers with a 62-52 win, putting in a dominant performance along the way. With the victory, Florida advances to the Final Four, and it is clear they will be the favorites when the games begin at AT&T Stadium.
Throughout the Gators’ victory it was utterly clear they were the better team on the floor, and the fact that they romped out to a 38-24 victory allowed Florida to step off the pedal a little bit in the second half. As a unit the Gators absolutely dominated in the trenches, winning the offensive rebound battle 12-5 and the overall rebound tally 37-26, in turn showing that pure physical dominance wins out at times.
Add in the dominant performance of senior guard Scottie Wilbekin — who compiled 23 points, three assists and three steals — and it was clear Florida had the mix of star power and team play to take down an overwhelmed Dayton side. The Gators allowed the Flyers to stage a mini-comeback during the second half, which would be a minor concern for most squads, but is surely not considering the success and tenure this Florida squad has.
Moving forward the Gators are the team to beat, and a starting five that features four seniors and is as dominating on the defensive end of the floor as any unit in the country is a big reason why. The Gators will not have the best player on the court no matter who they match up against in the Final Four and national championship game, but they will surely be the most fundamentally sound unit, and will allow somewhere near the 57.6 points per game average of the 2013-14 season.
Furthermore, Florida is in the midst of a 30-game win streak, and for the entirety of the season it has compiled 19 wins by 10 points or more. These statistics are indicative of the fact that the Gators are both in great form and that they already know how to win close games, which will both be crucial during the Final Four. Put on top of this that they are the most physically imposing and hard working team left in the NCAA tournament, and it is utterly clear that the Gators will be the favorites to win the national championship when the Final Four begins at AT&T Stadium.