Gators aren't invincible but ...

After watching Florida dismantle Tennessee 94-78 Saturday in Gainesville, I'm pretty sure there is only one team in college basketball that can beat the Gators. That would be the Gators themselves.

Florida is 21-2 overall, 8-0 in Southeastern Conference play and hasn't lost in its last 14 games. The Gators have three future NBA first-round draft picks across their front line – 6-11, 230-pound Joakim Noah, 6-10, 245-pound Al Horford and 6-9, 185-pound Corey Brewer.

Chris Richard, who backs up Noah and Horford, probably could start for anyone else in the Southeastern Conference. Florida also has an excellent point guard in Taurean Green and a zone-buster in Lee Humphrey, who leads the SEC in 3-point accuracy at nearly 50 percent.

"They have no weaknesses on the floor," Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said following a recent loss to the Gators. "They're good from the outside, they're good going to the basket. They're a very difficult team to play when they get rolling."

Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl knew beating Florida at Gainesville on Saturday would be difficult, even though he turned the trick in 2006. He's so impressed with Florida's skill level that he enjoys watching the Gators dissect opponents ... except when they're playing the Vols, of course.

"It's a delight watching Florida play basketball," Pearl said. "They're probably the most unselfish team in the country. They're a team that presents you with many challenges."

Obviously, Tennessee couldn't handle those challenges. That's why the Vols were beaten 26-6 on the backboards and 50-24 on the scoreboard in the first half of Saturday's game.

There is still a lot of basketball to be played this season but this Florida team appears to be significantly better than a year ago. For one thing, last year's sensational sophomores are juniors. For another, the team has a level of confidence and poise that was lacking last season. Winning begets winning.

The only potential chink in Florida's armor is complacency. When you're beating every opponent handily – and you've already got a national title in tow – how do you stay motivated every single night?

The answer: You don't. Head coach Billy Donovan recently admitted that keeping the Gators hungry is his toughest task.

"Last year it was easier because we came in that season with no expectations, and the younger players were unproven," he said. "This year we deal with the human element every day ... the human element of outside hype, guys wanting to do more, lack of being inspired.

"Anytime anything happens that's a major accomplishment, there's always a level of complacency. That's human nature. These kids are going to have lapses. The one thing we talk about is trying to deal with them and handle them."

Florida isn't having MANY lapses this season. Even when it has one, the talent level is so high that it is able to win anyway.

Are Donovan's boys unbeatable? Of course not. But any team that beats them is going to need some help from the Gators themselves.


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