Florida Gators Basketball: Depth And Balance The Keys To Success

The Florida Gators men’s basketball team moved one step closer to an NCAA Tournament appearance with a 72-60 road win over the Georgia Bulldogs.

Mike White is attempting to end what’s going on a three-year drought by leading the Florida Gators men’s basketball team back to the NCAA Tournament. Florida hasn’t been back to the Big Dance since 2014, when it reached the Final Four.

On Tuesday, Feb. 7, the Gators moved one step closer to ending the NCAA Tournament drought with a 72-60 road win over the Georgia Bulldogs.

Four players scored in double figures as Florida went into Athens and secured yet another solid victory. With the win, it improved to 19-5 overall, 9-2 in the SEC, and 5-0 since its heartbreaking loss to Vanderbilt.

Florida also completed the sweep of the regular season series with Georgia, which is currently ranked No. 58 in RPI.

Florida now has 12 wins over teams in the RPI Top 100, including nine victories against teams ranked No. 58 or better. That includes a resounding 88-66 blowout of the Kentucky Wildcats and an 81-76 win over the Seton Hall Pirates on a neutral site.

Throughout the season, the key to success has been depth, balance, and an unselfish approach to the game.

Four players are averaging at least 10.0 points per game for Florida in 2016-17. Florida is 14 games above .500 and the leading scorer, KeVaughn Allen, is averaging 13.3 points per game—a number that falls well outside of the Top 100 players in the country.

Yet, for those who have watched Allen play, it’s perfectly clear that he could be averaging closer to 20 points per game.

The key to Mike White’s offensive system is the selflessness to defer and find the hot hand. Allen, Canyon Barry, and Devin Robinson all have the tools to take over games, and all have done so at some point in 2016-17.

It’s the willingness to let players such as Kasey Hill and Chris Chiozza operate as facilitators, however, that’s been the key to success.

For as strong as Allen, Barry, Chiozza, Hill, and Robinson have been, ignoring the supporting cast would have hurt Florida more than it would have helped. On a number of occasions, it’s been the unsung heroes who have been the difference.

Keith Stone is averaging 4.1 points per game, but was the star of the show during Florida’s 65-56 win over the rival Miami Hurricanes. Kevarrius Hayes is averaging  6.2 points per game, but looked like the best player on the floor during the win over the Oklahoma Sooners.

Justin Leon is averaging 6.5 points per game, but was a featured scorer in the wins over Tennessee and LSU. If not Leon or Robinson, then it was Eric Hester, who averages 3.1 points per game, who deserved Player of the Game honors against LSU.

Numbers can’t even begin to display how valuable John Egbunu has been to the Gators as an athletic finisher and defensive anchor.

Thus, while individuals may be rising to the occasion, it’s taken a true team effort for the Florida Gators to reach 19-5.

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