Florida too complete to be stopped


MEMPHIS -- Billy Donovan could live with the first two.

Isn't that how it goes? There are losses you can live with, and losses that drive you mad -- performances you can be proud of despite the result, and games that stick in your gut for months.

In 2011, the first of Florida's four-straight Elite Eights, the Gators lost in overtime to a red-hot Butler team that made every play down the stretch. In 2012, Donovan lost to his mentor, Rick Pitino, and a Louisville team that guarded its way to the Final Four. Florida played well in both games. It was last year's loss -- a dreary blowout to eventual national runner-up Michigan -- that Donovan didn't like.

On Saturday, after Florida's fourth Elite Eight game in four years, and its first win -- a 62-52 victory over No. 11-seed Dayton -- Donovan was fielding all of the expected questions about his program's remarkable run of success. He was making a larger point about the way seasons end in the NCAA tournament, and the ways those small samples skew perception. But for a second, his tone gave him away.

"I thought we played well against Louisville and Butler," Donovan said, his voice flecked with sudden disdain. "I did not think we played well against Michigan -- at all."

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