Gators will exceed expectations

Florida loses Erving Walker and Brad Beal, but it still has Sweet 16 ability

Originally Published: September 24, 2012
By Michael DiRocco, Dave Telep, Jay Bilas | ESPN Insider
DonovanKelly Lambert/US PresswireBilly Donovan wants the Gators to form their identity on the defensive end in 2012-13.

Leading up to Midnight Madness in October, ESPN Insider's "Countdown to Madness" series is previewing the top five seeds in each of the four regions in Joe Lunardi's preseason 2013 NCAA bracket. To read about the key stats and freshman impact for each team as the previews are published, plus get expert predictions from Jay Bilas, Fran Fraschilla and Lunardi, click here. This is the entry for the Florida Gators, No. 3 in the East (Washington, D.C.).

The keys: Defense, depth and versatility

Stat to know: 95.9

Florida has a chance to be a fantastic defensive team in 2012-13, provided the Gators are willing to accept coach Billy Donovan's challenge. It's a simple one, too: Can you quit making offense your No. 1 priority?

"We've got a really good defensive team," Donovan said. "We've got to try to become great on that end of the floor. Last year, because of our shooting and our ability to shoot 3s and to run off points quickly, sometimes our defense and the emphasis we tried to place there got overshadowed by our offense.

"Our shooting was our identity last year. I think the identity of our team needs to be in the defensive end of the floor."


To read the full 2012-13 Florida preview, including the Gators' season outlook from Jay Bilas, you must be an ESPN Insider.