Still unfinished business

The Florida Gators have so many reasons to celebrate. They just won to make it to their first Final Four since 2007 and are now the winningest team in school history. They have a big monkey off of their back not being able to get past the Elite-8 for the chance they have this year. But, in usual fashion, this team will be quick to get back to work, and they want to.

The four seniors have won so many games as Gators. Winners of 13 NCAA Tournament games in their career, three time SEC Champions, SEC tournament champions, 30 wins in a row, an undefeated SEC season and tournament… the list goes on. There is a week until game one of the Final Four, so these Gators celebrate for one night and day, then it is back to work.

"We're going to celebrate," senior forward /center Patric Young said moments after the 62-52 win over Dayton. "Sun's going to come up tomorrow. We're going to move on, get prepared, and get rest. Hopefully, we have Sunday off.

"We're going to get prepared for whoever we have next. We keep moving forward. That's our goal, just keep moving forward. Next game, hopefully, we'll come ready to play. Fearless."

Florida head coach Billy Donovan has been there before. Donovan will be heading to his fourth Final Four as a coach and has coached in the championship game of each winning the 2006 and 2007 events. With all of the wins this group of seniors has accomplished, Young, Scottie Wilbekin, Casey Prather, and Will Yeguete haven't been a part of everything that goes with the Final Four.

"It's a great thrill," Donovan said Saturday night. "This is what the tournament is all about. You get a chance to go to a Final Four. Obviously, it's a spectacle. It's a great sporting event. Our guys experienced a lot. They haven't experienced what they're getting ready to experience on Saturday."

But, because his guys have done so much, and the way they have done it, Donovan has to like the group he is taking to the event this year. It is a group ranked number one in the country and Donovan has been able to help them compartmentalize the season, of which they will be heading to the last compartment.

"It's hard to believe what these guys have done" Donovan admitted. "It's amazing. These guys have been able to, for whatever reason, put stuff behind them. I think there were some incentives and some things out there in front of this team where we end up winning 14 or 15 in a row in the SEC regular season, and we've got a share or an outright SEC championship, and then it's… what are these guys playing for now?

"It was the opportunity with last year being the first year of going to an 18 game league, trying to take that on as a challenge. We do that. Then you kind of get into a situation where you're in one and done situations. You play three games in the SEC tournament, so they're not even thinking about a winning streak at that point.

"Then you get to the NCAA Tournament, and it's still one and done. So they're so far removed from the fact that how many games they've won in a row. All they know is, if they don't play to the very best of their ability and they're out performed or outplayed, they're going home. That's what happens this time of year."

He can also show them film of any win that lets them know that things could have been different.

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"I think there are things that we can adjust and we can get better at", Donovan said. "I think, like anything, there's always parts of your game that you look at as a team that you didn't maybe do as well as you would have like."

Donovan wasn't very happy with some aspects of the 62-52 win over Dayton. Forward Dyshawn Pierre scored 18 points and had five assists. Donovan wasn't happy with the way his guys faced Pierre.

"I didn't think that we really guarded Pierre very well today in and around the basket," Donovan said. "I thought he really, really hurt Yeguete, and he hurt Prather a lot. So, just working to be able to handle that situation better.

"There were some pick and roll coverages that I did not think were very good, were blown today. We need to get better there."

"I thought offensively, obviously, we came in and scored 38 points in the first half and only make five field goals in the second half, maybe being more consistent. So there are always things you can get better at.

"But I think at least our identity and who we are as a team is pretty much set in stone this time of year. You're not going to change who you are, but there are things you can get better at."

This team has done so much and they have done it for four years. Yet, there has been that little taste of dissatisfaction in the previous three. So there is still so much to play for and this team has some unfinished business. Donovan has the history to push them through it.

"I think it's just different for me," Florida's winningest coach of all-time said. "I think what happens is, when you get to the Final Four, there's a public perception that this is some culmination of a mountain top that you've gotten to. And I've always looked at the tournament as a six game tournament. That's what it is.

"We have nice names, Elite Eight and Sweet 16 and Final Four, but at the end of the day, you want to keep on playing. I think from a perception standpoint, that's what the human nature part of it was. I told them we need to battle this. You get to three Elite Eights and you're back here. The past has nothing to do with it. It's trying to move on and advance."

"If we're not fortunate enough to move on past Saturday, you know, you can sit there and say, ‘Hey, Billy, you guys were so close, and you almost played for a National Championship'. It's the same thing. There's no easy way out this time of year. Each team is more and more invested."

This team has been able to get over one hump they were incapable of for three years. Now it is time to cross over two more hums.

"I couldn't be prouder and happier because in a lot of ways, outside the Michigan game, we were close to being in 3 out of 4 Final Fours right now, and that says a lot about these guys," Donovan said. "But I think those experiences maybe helped us be a better team this year than maybe we would have been if we'd have gotten to a couple of ones earlier."

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