In the midst of a special football season, few have forgotten that the college basketball season is approaching and that the Florida Gators have a basketball team- and a good team at that. The Gators starting 5 will consist of mainly Juniors and Seniors who have faced the hardships of dropping back to back elite eight games in the last two NCAA Tournaments. The strength of scoring, rebounding, and experience should make this Florida Gators team flourish in 2012-13 and make them challengers to the thrown of the SEC, Kentucky. The strength of the Gator's non conference schedule is off the charts with games against Wisconsin, Arizona, FSU, Georgetown, ETC. and should prepare them for an even harder SEC schedule. Seniors Kenny Boynton, Mike Rosario, and Erik Murphy will give it one more go around and try to make their first Final Four appearance since winning it all in 2007.
PG Kenny Boynton: 15.9 PPG-2.7 APG
Boynton will provide most of the scoring this year, as he did last year, and dish out more assists as assist leader Erving Walker (4.6 APG) is now gone. Look for Boynton to be making more shots outside the peremiter as he made close to 3 out of 7 three-shots last year.
PF Erik Murphy: 10.5 PPG-4.5 RPG-1.1 BPG
Murphy may be one of the most important players on the Gators roster this year. Besides having experience as a senior, Murphy had close to 11 PPG last season and led most of the team in three point percentage, when he took them. Murphy nabbed 4.5 rebounds last year and led the team with blocks at 1.1 per game.
C Patric Young: 10.2 PPG-6.4 RPG
This could be the year that Young finally breaks the double-double barrier. While that may be a lofty goal, Young could increase his rebounding rate from 6.4 to maybe 7, 8, or even 9. Young exploded last year as a reliable center, nealry doubling what he produced in 2010-11, and can certainly climb up the stat ladder even more this year.
SG Mike Rosario: 6.6 PPG-1.4 RPG
While Rosario's numbers may not look impressive at a first glance, these numbers came with only 14.4 minutes per contest.It is almost a guarantee that Rosario will be one of the Gators starting 5, if not then recieve ample palying time in his senior season. Hypothetically if Rosario doubles his playing time, his stats would double (13.2 PPG-2.8 RPG).
SF Will Yeguete: 4.4 PPG-6.3 RPG-1.2 SPG
France native Yeguete will likely find himself in the starting 5 and will likely play the role of the "opportunity maker". What i mean by that is that Yeguete will be grabbing more rebounding, stealing more balls, and setting up more assist for scoring plays. While Yeguete may not be the most prolific scorer on that Gators team, he helps the team out in more important ways.
Non Conference Schedule Overview: The Gators non conference schedule may be one of their toughest in the last couple of years. in November the Gators open up the season with Georgetown in Jacksonville,, VS No. 23 Wisconsin, @ Middle Tennessee, VS Savannah State, and VS Marquette, all of which are tournament hopefuls. Turn the calendar to December and the Gators play tough road games against No. 25 FSU, No. 12 Arizona, and Kansas State in Kansas City. If the gators can hang on through their arduous non conference schedule, then their SEC schedule should seem like nothing (except Kentucky).
NCAA Seeding Prediction: 4 Seed, Austin Regional, Midwest Bracket
The only reason I see the Gators sporting a considerably low 4 seed is do to their strength of schedule, and the uncertainty of how this team will perform under adversity. Florida may appear to be a team in the NCAA tournament with 5 or 6 losses that other team will over look, but like last year and the year before that, Florida always performs well in the NCAA Tournament, regardless of seeding.