In the next few days, depending on how everything pans out, I will be providing some in-depth breakdowns of the Gators and their opponents in the NCAA Tournament. But before I get into all of that, I'll make a few predictions, first for the Gators and secondly for the tournament as a whole.
Gator Predictions: 1. Patric Young will be the Gators' X-factor. He has been earning more playing time recently, and deservedly so. He is a big, strong inside presence, and his offensive and defensive game have matured tremendously. He and Vernon Macklin are the only two big men the Gators have that could compete with Big East or Big Ten post men.
2. Erving Walker will continue to struggle. Unfortunately, Erv has been playing some of the worst basketball of his Gator career. He is making poor decisions in multiple areas, including passing, shooting, and defending. He is too quick to go to the hoop, as he is very liable to be blocked. His shot has gone cold, and he is taking far too many contested threes.
3. The Gators will blow by UCSB in the first round. The Gauchos have two prolific scorers in Orlando Johnson and James Nunnally, but the rest of their team is shaky. The Gators will use a great inside-out attack to dismantle the Gauchos by 20 points.
4. Florida will then go on to beat Michigan State and play a gutsy overtime game against BYU, winning that one. But the Gators' run will end against #1 seed Pittsburgh, as the Panthers' excellent defense will simply be too stifling and the Florida offense will fall flat on its face.
Tournament Predictions: Elite Eight Match-Ups
- North Carolina 81, Ohio State 77
- Duke 75, Connecticut 66
- Kansas 72, Purdue 61
- Pittsburgh 65, Florida 57
Final Four Predictions
- Duke 74, North Carolina 70
- Pittsburgh 69, Kansas 68
National Championship Prediction
- Duke 67, Pittsburgh 61
- Most Outstanding Player- Harrison Barnes, North Carolina
- Biggest Upset- (13) Belmont over (4) Wisconsin
- Biggest Surprise Team- Utah State
- Biggest Disappointment- Notre Dame