Gator basketball’s up and down season has swiftly taken a nose-dive after getting thumped at home to Alabama, losing by a score of 68-50. Once again ice cold shooting and zero signs of an interior presence left Florida with their heads shaking and coach Mike White.
Alabama (15-8, 6-4) outscored Florida. who led by 7 after 20 minutes, 41-17 in the second half and dominated the Gators “bigs” with a 43-25 rebounding edge for the game. After committing 14 turnovers and trailing by as many as 10 points in the first half, the Crimson Tide shot 58.1 percent from the field in the second half. Meanwhile, the Gators forgot the goal of the game was to put the round thing in the hoopy-thing, shooting just 22.6 percent in that ugly second half and 33.3 percent for the game.
Out played. Out Hustled. Simply gross and embarrassing.
Let me take a quick pause and reiterate what we have already said on Twitter several times: Mike White is not, will not, and should not even be considered for the chopping block. Let’s repeat; Mike. White. Should. NOT. Be. Fired. Okay, I got that out of my system now.
We need to face the facts Gator fans. This is a flawed basketball team. The fast-paced, sharp shooting team that we saw impress and shock the college world at the Phil Knight tournament in November has been weighed, measured, and found wanting.
The scouting reports are out on this Gator team, and they are pretty simply to follow – ignore the interior on defense and force them to take bad shots, all while on offense you just need to get the ball down low and Florida’s lack of bigs will cause their ultimate collapse. It’s clear that having no true, healthy centers available have hurt the Gators on both ends of the court. Naturally this would force Florida outside, which it has, but the Gators have failed to create clean shots and maintain a consistent shooting percentage. They either hit everything and win by 20 or go ice cold and are left wondering what the hell happened.
Mike White, very obviously frustrated at his teams lack of cohesion and effort, knows it’s time for the team to make adjustments if it wants to finish the season how it started it. “If we don’t make wholesale changes we’re going to continue to have peaks and valleys and just be average,” White said.
White reiterated how his team has to find another way to score than from the perimeter. He vented his frustration of watching two Alabama players dive for a loose ball while his guys stood and watched. He suggested that if he could find five guys who would run back on defense on every play, he’d start them even if it limited the team on the offensive end. “The identity of this team is very frustrating, and again, I’m in charge of it,” he said. “We’re not very tough. We pride ourselves on shots and points more so than anything else.”… as a fan who watched the game in person, these words could not be more true.
With John Egbunu not getting any closer to joining his team, missing his hopeful start date of late January, the Gators need to look themselves in the mirror and both accept who they are as a flawed team, embrace their identity, and work their asses off to compensate. With 8 games left in the regular season and the SEC tournament looming, there is still plenty of time for Florida to bounce back.
Let’s put it this way, the Gators next practice should be a rough, though well-deserved one.