The Gators basketball team, much like the rest of the SEC, has had a season that can be described as hot and cold, at best. Starting the season absolutely on fire and then going in and out of cold streaks, the team will be looking for answers as they head into
One problem that needs to be addressed is figuring out how to close out games. Getting the lead at half has never been the problem, but finishing strong and winning the all-important win is the biggest challenge this team has faced all season. After wanting to flip my coffee table seeing Florida fumble away another victory this past weekend, I decided to do some research into how badly the boys have done when they had the lead late. I used ESPN’s win probability tool to find our best chance of winning in the 2nd half of each game. The results are pretty baffling:
• Duke (in Portland); 17-point lead with 10:17 left; 98.5% chance of winning
• FSU (Home); Never led in the 2nd half
• Loyola-Chicago (Home); 1-point lead with 17:01 left; 69.1% chance of winning
• Clemson (in Orlando); 9-point lead with 5:19 left; 92.7% chance of winning
• Ole Miss (Away); 8-point lead with 12:53 left; 84% chance of winning
• South Carolina (Home); 9-point lead with 17:55 left; 92.9% chance of winning
• Georgia (Away); 5-point lead with 13:29 left; 73.5% chance of winning
• Alabama (Home); 6-point lead with 19:25 left; 82% chance of winning
• Georgia (Home); 6-point lead with 0:25 left; 95.4% chance of winning
• Vanderbilt (Away); 11-point lead with 13:00 left; 92.2% chance of winning
Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. We knew from the get-go that this was going to be a flawed team with no real interior presence on either side of the court, but instead of making the appropriate adjustments they have tended to just shoot themselves in the foot.
Mike White is not the problem, I can’t emphasize this enough. Insiders and many others close to the team believe in White and know he had handing the players the answers to their woes, but unfortunately they just aren’t listening.
After a season of seeing this happen time and again, optimism is not high around the O’Dome as we near the SEC tournament and March Madness fate (currently looking at being one of the last 4 in). Still, there is time and with their position in the SEC standings firmly planted, it is now that the team needs to lock things down and focus on making the right adjustments.