Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 3/26/13
Maybe its their underachieving nature and lack of flashy offense. Maybe its because of the quality and margin of their wins. Maybe theyve been looked over because of the down nature of their conference this season. Or, maybe, people arent convinced they have the talent to advance any further than this weekend. Whatever the reason, Billy Donovan and his Florida Gators are not feeling a lot of love from the pundits as they prepare to make another run at the Final Four. In most expert circles Florida has been an afterthought, even though they are making their ninth Sweet Sixteen appearance and the seventh with Donovan at the helm. To add insult to injury, the Gators are barely mentioned in coverage of their own game this Friday. Thats because their opponent, Florida Gulf Coast University, has become the exalted Cinderella team of this tournament with the high-flying dunks and double-digit upsets over Georgetown and San Diego State. Plus, FGCUs coach is a former Wall Street executive and self-made millionaire who took his supermodel wife to Taco Bell on their first date. Its tough to generate any buzz when youre going up against that story. But the lack of respect many are showing Florida is puzzling. Donovan is, after all, the second most successful coach left in the field. He is the only one not named Mike Krzyzewski who has more than one NCAA Championship and one of the few in the modern era of college basketball to win two titles back-to-back. But you dont have to retreat to the Joakim Noah era to see why Donovan and the Gators should be taken seriously. This is their fourth tournament appearance since those championship years and their third trip to the Sweet Sixteen. Last season and in 2011, they made it to the Elite Eight despite being underdogs all the way. Granted, this Florida squad hasnt put up gaudy numbers. Their center, Erik Murphy, is the leading scorer with a respectable 12.8 points a game. Its good production, but not great. By contrast, FGCUs leading scorer, the flashy guard Sherwood Brown, averages 15.8 points a game, and Ole Misss Marshall Henderson, arguably the greenest light in the tournament before the Rebels were eliminated, averaged 20.1. But Florida also has guards Mike Rosario and Kenny Boynton who average 12.5 and 12.1 points per game respectively, as well as forward Patric Young who averages 10.3 per outing. Scottie Wilbekin, the fifth man on the floor for most Floridas minutes, averages 9.2 points a game. If youre into mapping and graphical representations, that is whats called straight-line dispersion. Because the Gators spread the scoring almost evenly among their starting five, no one player stands out and very few plays make the halftime highlight reels. This is not a team that beats you with high-flying showmanship. There are very few rafter-raising dunks or record-setting three-pointers. They are a team that spreads the ball efficiently and plays solid defense every trip down the floor. And they are a team that scores more points than their opponents on most occasions. In the end, there are no style points awarded on the scoreboard. Donovan and the Gators win the old fashioned way with solid fundamentals. UPS is using Donovan in an ad campaign during the tournament. In the ads, the coach preaches the value of fundamentals and how important it is for a team to master the boring stuff. You have to be so good at the fundamentals that you could do them in your sleep, Donovan says in the ad. If those lines were scripted, then Donovan helped write them. They are as much a part of his persona as his rapid-fire New York accent and his high-and-tight haircut. They are also why Florida is a favorite to make the Elite Eight for the third consecutive year, and why Donovan could be cutting down the nets in Atlanta on April 8. Fundamentals dont earn you a lot of pre-game chatter. But they do win championships. On that front, Florida definitely has the edge.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

MotoGP qualifying for the Dutch Grand Prix saw three frightening crashes Saturday

Report: Knicks attempted to move Joakim Noah with Kristaps Porzingis

Hornets GM mistakenly introduces Dwayne Bacon as Dwyane Wade

Three A's players knock first MLB homers in the same game

Cuban-American businessman emerges as potential Marlins buyer

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Charles Oakley: Kristaps Porzingis was ‘wrong’ to skip exit meeting

Sixers already looking to extend Joel Embiid

WATCH: Klay Thompson fails miserably attempting a 360 dunk

Jays closer Roberto Osuna says he’s dealing with anxiety

John McEnroe claims Andy Warhol ruined his sex life

Report: Re-signing Nerlens Noel is Mavericks' top priority

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

Players who need to turn around their season to save their teams

Sports & Politics Intersect: Washington gets a rare win

Three Up, Three Down: Flouting the written and unwritten rules of baseball

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Billy King Award for worst trade

Kicking it: David Villa isn't interested in a 'retirement tour'

Box Score 6/23: Philly continues to trust the process

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'NBA Draft going back to school?' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Gary Payton Award for best trash talk of the year

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Billy King Award for worst trade

Players who need to turn around their season to save their teams

Three Up, Three Down: Flouting the written and unwritten rules of baseball

Sports & Politics Intersect: Washington gets a rare win

Kicking it: David Villa isn't interested in a 'retirement tour'

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'NBA Draft going back to school?' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker