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Five things about the Florida Gators men's basketball team

Mar. 29, 2013
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1. No charity at the stripe

One of Florida's biggest issues in losing close games this season has been free throws. UF was 8 of 17 (a frightening 3 of 11 in the second half or 27.3 percent) in the SEC tourney title loss to Ole Miss, 66-63. The Gators were 10 of 15 in a 67-61 loss to Kansas State in Kansas City, 6 of 12 in a 63-60 loss at Missouri and 6 of 11 in a 64-58 loss at Tennessee. That's a combined 30 of 55 in four of UF's biggest losses and remember, many of those were 1-and-1s. Which team steps to the line in the Sweet 16?

2. Sweet 16 is familiar territory

This is Florida's third consecutive trip to the Sweet 16, the resting spot that seems to separate good from great for programs. Only three other teams can make that claim over the last three years Kansas, Ohio State and Marquette.

3. Falling just short now a trend

You want to talk about heartbreak hotel? Elvis had nothing on these guys. Florida has lived there since March of 2011. UF had large second-half leads against Butler and Louisville. UF had a 51-40 lead with 9:26 left in regulation but Butler went on a 17-6 run to send into overtime. An Erving Walker shot at the buzzer bounced out, Butler won in overtime, 74-71. The Gators led by 11 against Louisville last year with less than eight minutes to go and scored three points the rest of the way, losing 72-68. So seven points separated Florida from trying to make its third straight Final Four appearance.

4. Keep an eye on Patric Young

Florida is 15-2 this season when he gets seven rebounds or more. Young can be hot and cold in the paint. When he's on, he's a sight to watch. When he's off, it's not pretty. Young, a junior, even has NBA scouts a little baffled. He has NBA talent but when the lights come on, he sometimes struggles to find consistency in his game. Early fouls can also be an issue, especially with the Gators' thin depth inside. If Young sits, that's a recipe for issues.

5. Don't get caught napping early

Florida opponents have scored 28, 28, 26, 32 and 27 points in the first half of the Gators' five SEC and NCAA tourney games. That often forces an opponent to spend a lot of energy in the second half just to get back into the game. Needless to say, you might want to have a cup of coffee before you take the floor against this team.

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