Florida’s Looking Very Final Four’ish

Stat geeks will tell you Florida is a definitive Final Four contender. After Saturday's beatdown, Missouri's players, coaches and fans would likely say the same.

It's been about half a decade coming for Billy Donovan to field another juggernaut, ever since losing the majority of his back-to-back NCAA champions (2006, 2007), he's led his team back to the Elite Eight twice without being able to break the hallowed seal. Talented players have come through since the impressive run — Bradley Beal, Chandler Parsons and Marreese Speights each suit up for NBA teams — but this junior/senior-laden squad seems different. It's not the most individually talented bunch, but their execution has been off the charts.

The 83-52 blowout of Missouri was a prime example — and the No. 10 Gators did not even play their best through certain stretches.

They opened up a 40-23 halftime lead. They shot 59.3 percent from the field. They forced 21 turnovers (including an eye-opening 10 from elite point guard Phil Pressey). Overall, like nearly every game this season, Florida got it done on both ends of the court.

Consider this: Entering the Missouri game, Florida ranked No. 2 in both offensive and defensive efficiency nationally. No other team ranks in the top-five in both categories. That's absolutely ridiculous.

Not even Donovan's two title teams — led by Joakim Noah and Al Horford — finished with such impressive team numbers. In 2006, the Gators finished second-best on offense and fifth-best on defense; in 2007, they finished first and 12th, respectively. Those teams featured more talent and, of course, there's a long way to go, but that's still a big statement on how balanced Donovan's team is this season.

Add that to the fact that, while watching the game, you aren't left wondering what exactly is crawling through Noah's hair, and it's a win-win for Florida so far.

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