Some observations following UF’s 63-53 loss to Connecticut in the Final Four:
— Florida’s inability to take care of the ball proved costly against pesky Connecticut guards Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright. Overall, Connecticut scored 13 points off 11 UF turnovers. The killer came with Florida down 45-40 and 6:55 left when Napier stripped Florida point guard Scottie Wilbekin, then passed forward to Boatright for an easy layup in transition. to put the Huskies ahead 47-40. The Gators never cut UConn’s lead to below 6 for the rest of game.
— Florida coach Billy Donovan is the three-time SEC coach of the year, but it wasn’t a banner day for him his staff from a game management standpoint. With the Gators up 16-4, Donovan had offensively-challenged Kasey Hill, Will Yeguete and DeVon Walker on the floor at the same time for a long stretch during UConn’s 11-0 run. Then, in the second half, UConn continued to find holes in Florida’s 1-3-1 defense, with the 6-foot-2 Wilbekin in the back to try to guard 6-9 UConn DeAndre Daniels. Connecticut was able to read the defense and throw over the top for two easy inside baskets from Daniels to extend its lead to 51-41.
— Overall, give Florida credit for making it to this point. Keep in perspective, it’s taken Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim 38 years to get to as many Final Fours (4) as Donovan has led the Gators to in 18 years. None of UF’s four starting seniors are projected first-round draft picks and the Gators still wound up with a school-record 36 wins. It was a special season with a disappointing ending.