Florida 82, Mississippi State 47: The gulf between the Gators and the SEC yawns wide

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Florida beat Mississippi State worse on Saturday night than the Oh-Fours did any SEC team in their two-year reign of glory. Are these Gators destined for similar heights? And is there any drama left to the SEC schedule?

I could post the recap from any of Florida's five other double-digit SEC wins for Florida's 82-47 victory over Mississippi State on Saturday night and you'd barely be able to tell the difference.

Florida's got talent other SEC teams don't have. Florida plays defense other SEC teams can't withstand. Florida's offense outclasses every other SEC team's by orders of magnitude. Frankly, it's getting rather difficult to say new and different things about this team.

The Gators trailed at 4-3 for 31 seconds on this night, and never again, immediately going on a 28-4 run that took less than 10:00 of game clock and effectively ended any semblance of competitiveness at Humphrey Coliseum. Florida's lead swelled in the second half, which it began on a 15-2 run, growing to 36 points at one point and never dipping below 30 in the final 7:29.

The win was Florida's biggest against an SEC foe since the 2004-05 Gators crushed Mississippi by a 90-53 count, and the Gators now have two wins by 30+ points against SEC teams, one more than the 2005-06 and 2006-07 teams compiled in 38 games against SEC teams in their two SEC championship campaigns.

Florida's beating SEC teams by 26.5 points, which is a rate of destruction usually only seen in Tokyo neighborhoods when Godzilla's fighting Mothra. There's probably just one NCAA Tournament team in the list of Florida's SEC victims — but that team, Missouri, got rocked to sleep in a 31-point mauling in Gainesville. And it hasn't mattered one bit who's scoring and who's not, with Florida being led in scoring by Mike Rosario, Kenny Boynton, Erik Murphy, and Scottie Wilbekin over six SEC games, and Patric Young placing second twice. Boynton and Murphy both occupied Victory Lane on Saturday night, with each Gator putting in 18 points and splashing in four threes, and no Florida player took more than 11 shots to get his points. Rosario was uncharacteristically quiet against the Bulldogs, with five points on eight shots, and it didn't matter: Wilbekin continued his surge, with 13 points and nine assists, and more than made up for it.

Perhaps that's the core strength of Florida in 2012-13: When one player has an off night, everyone else steps up, and the Gators don't show any signs of letting up until the other team is smeared all over the bottoms of their kicks. Figuring out whether that's fully accurate might be a lot more interesting than wondering if the Gators are going to run the table against a down SEC, and there aren't many other storylines to follow at this point.

Increasingly, Florida seems to be killing time — and moribund SEC squads — until it's killing time in the middle of March. And that wait will be killing me until it's over.

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