What No. 4 Florida Gators basketball has accomplished through seven games of Southeastern Conference play is unprecedented within the league.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Florida is just the third team in the last 25 years to win its first seven conference games by more than 15 points, joining 2010-11 Belmont (eight) and 1990-91 UNLV (12).
The Gators picked up their third-largest margin of victory in SEC play on Wednesday, defeating the South Carolina Gamecocks by 39 points. Florida defeated Ole Miss by 47 in 1993 and Mississippi State by 44 in 1987.
UF (17-2, 7-0 SEC) also extended its winning streak to nine games – the most it has strung together since winning 10 games in a row in the middle of the 2008-09 – and went undefeated in the month of January for the first time since 2007 (8-0).
For head coach Billy Donovan, the Gators winning by an average of 28.3 points in league play is notable but nothing for the team to hang its collective hat on.
“The more you win like this, the more you show what you’re capable of – I believe as a coach – the more responsibility you have because you’re playing at a certain level and you’ve shown a certain level. What you want to try to do as a basketball team is not go backwards a step but continue to grow and get better and improve and understand that’s the number one priority – getting better,” he said after Wednesday’s game.
“The minute you start to cut corners or you start to think you’ve got things figured out or you think you don’t need to do those things anymore, that’s where the slippage starts.”
Florida performed like Donovan dictated in the second half of the contest. If one of the Gators’ teams of the last few seasons led 33-10 at the half like they did on Wednesday, Florida might have taken its foot off the gas, relaxed on defense and cruised to a victory.
Not this squad. These Gators still outscored the Gamecocks 42-26 in the second half, posting more points in the latter 20 minutes than the visitors did in the entire game.