Early on, Florida looked like they were going to be the best team in the SEC. They started off 5-0, scoring at least 108 points in four of those contests. They had the appearance of a team that was set to be one of the five best in college basketball all year. Then they ran into Duke, and after leading for much of the contest, they suffered defeat at the hands of the nation’s top team by a final score of 87-84. No big deal though: Duke is as talented a college basketball team as we’ve seen in a long time, and it was only one game, right?
Well, maybe it was a big deal. Following that Duke loss, the Gators have proceeded to lose 2 more games to put their record at 5-3. One was a tough loss to upstart Florida State 83-66; the other was an embarrassing defeat at the hands of Loyola Chicago, 65-59. The Duke loss came in the PK80 out on the West Coast, but the more recent losses were home defeats that were frankly absurd.
In such a brutal stretch, I don’t think it’s unfair to ask: is something wrong with the University of Florida’s basketball team?
Travel isn’t an excuse – they had 8 days between the Duke loss and the FSU loss. Talent isn’t a justifiable one, either. Jalen Hudson and Egor Koulechov form one of the more underrated duos in college basketball. Could it be head coach Mike White who’s to blame for their recent struggles? That’s also highly unlikely, seeing as he had them scoring consistently in triple digits just a few weeks ago. If it’s none of these things, then what is it?
Honestly, I think this stretch for Florida is just a bump in the road. Other major teams have also suffered some bad losses early in the CBB season. Most notably, Arizona went to the Battle 4 Atlantis and lost consecutive three games, which dropped them from number two in the country to unranked. 2. Kansas recently lost to unranked Washington, 9. Notre Dame lost to Ball State, etc. Good teams lose to bad ones inexplicably; it’s the nature of the chaos that is college basketball.
The other big thing is that the FSU loss may not be as bad as it looks. I can’t defend Loyola Chicago, and a 17-point loss to an unranked team is almost inexplicable. Nevertheless, FSU is one of the only remaining undefeated teams in the country, and they play in the ACC, easily the conference for basketball across the nation. Even though they’re unranked this week, the Seminoles are a sneaky good team and will definitely crack the top-25 come the next AP poll release.
So, I guess the message is not to overreact to a few losses. It’s early in the season, and UF has plenty of time to bounce back and show they’re really that team that was putting on a show at the outset. That can start Saturday, when they host 17. Cincinnati in a huge matchup. How they perform in this one will indicate the type of team they are.
All stats and info courtesy ESPN.
Cover photo courtesy uwffootballtickets.com.