Which Was a Better Season, 1994 or 2011?

As many of you know, I began comparing this year's Gator basketball team to the 1994 Final Four team in early February. Florida's ability to survive close games on a regular basis conjured up memories of that team, which went by the motto: "Find a Way".

Well, now that the season is over and the disappointment of losing to Butler in the Regional Final has subsided at least somewhat, let's consider this team as one of the half dozen best in UF history and measure them against the team they are most similar to.

It's ironic that these two teams finished with identical 29-8 records.

This isn't really an attempt to determine which team would win a hypothetical matchup, but rather to create the debate as to which was the better season. To do that we look at the strengths and weaknesses of the two resumes and go from there.

The Case For 1994 ---- The strongest argument for ranking the '94 team ahead of this year's team is the fact that this group won its NCAA Regional Final earning Florida's first Final Four berth. You definitely get extra credit for being a trailblazer and reaching basketball's ultimate event. The '94 Gators were less than a half from playing for the NCAA title when Grant Hill went nuts in the second half in Charlotte, ending the dream season. The '94 team reached the SEC Tournament Final, losing to Kentucky and its non-conference losses were to FSU and Louisville.

The Case For 2011 ---- Is there anything Gator fans enjoying chanting more than "S-E-C, S-E-C"? I don't think so. This team won an SEC Championship and won it outright, which only two other Florida teams (1989, 2007) ever accomplished. That feat alone makes this group special, but they added to that with a run to the Elite Eight of the Big Dance and had a possession to score the winner and go to the Final Four, which would have settled this argument. This team also lost the SEC Tournament Final to the boys from Lexington.

Statistical Comparison

1994   2011
75 Scoring 72
68 Pts Allowed 63
40-34 Rebounding 37-32


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"1" ----- Dan Cross 15.7/3.9 a, Erving Walker 14.6/3.4 a

"2" ---- Craig Brown 14.8/4.9 , Kenny Boynton 14.2/1.5

"3"------ Brian Thompson 5.5/3.9, Chandler Parsons 11.3/7.8 r

"4" ----- Andrew DeClercq 8.8/7.9, Alex Tyus 9.1/6.2

"5" ----- Dametri Hill 12.7/4.7, Vernon Macklin 11.6/5.4

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It's pretty similar, isn't it? The backcourt of Brown and Cross remains the best in school history B.T. Walker and Boynton aren't far off. Parsons offers a huge advantage at small forward, while the post positions are very close with a slight edge to '94. Yet added together the 2011 starts actually outscored the 1994 group by four points a game.

My Bottom Line ---- By the slimmest of margins I would choose the 2011 season as a better one, but I feel like a gymnastics judge who decides to award a 9.90 to one performance and a 9.925 to the other. 2011 gets the edge for me primarily because of the value I place on wining the SEC in any sport. It's one thing you control completely, unlike the NCAA Tournament where teams can get wildly different paths to the Final Four. If given a choice between one more SEC win for a trophy and one more NCAA win, I go for the ring. Another slight plus for the '11 team is that they had to play in a hostile environment in that Regional Final --- everyone in New Orleans was puling for Butler, while the '94 team played its Regional in Miami where Gator Nation turned out in huge numbers.

That's my vote, what's yours?


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