Well, what a nightmare week it has been for Florida Gator fans: Football team gets obliterated by Missouri, a team 0-4 in SEC play on Saturday. The women’s basketball team blows a five point lead with ninety seconds left, and then the men get completely exposed to their biggest rival in Tallahassee, 81-60. Gator fans, I think we can get through this week together.
Tuesday was opening day for all of college basketball, and UF got to spend opening day in the state’s capital to take on the rival Seminoles. Unfortunately, it was never competitive, FSU had control of this game from the start and outplayed Florida in every area of the game. Here are three takeaways from Tuesday’s beat down of the Gators.
1- Veteran experience never showed up:
The Gators start a fifthth year senior, two fourthth year seniors, and a fourthth year junior. Those players alone bring a ton of collegiate experience, yet combined shot 7/22 from the field and only 2/10 from three point range. Despite a combined 17 years of college basketball, these four accounted for only 21 of Florida’s 60 team points and only three assists. To make things worse KeVaughn Allen had zero points on 0/4 shooting. If the Gators want to beat any ranked team this year, and they’ll play quite a few, the experience needs to be present.
2- Assist-to-turnover ratio spells disaster for the Gators:
9:16. That was Florida’s final assist-to-turnover ratio. It’s especially worse when you consider freshman point guard Andrew Nembhard contributed four assists. Granted the Seminoles highly intense defense forced a ton of turnovers, but this goes back to the experience not showing up, sometimes your upperclassmen have to take over games and frankly it looked like none of Florida veterans wanted to be there. Yes, Nembhard is responsible for four turnovers, but his backcourt mates need to be more passive, Allen, Jalen Hudson, and Mike Okauru combined for only three assists.
Eleven of the team’s 16 turnovers came from post players because of their inability to catch the ball, and handle the ball with strength. We have all known for some time that Florida’s achilles’ heel is there post presence, while I expected them to struggle against FSU, who is anchored by 7’4 center Christ Koumadje, the Seminoles 6’8 forward Phil Cofer didn’t even play, and yet Florida’s post players still couldn’t find a consistent rhythm.
3- Slow starts will haunt the Gators:
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know it’s easier to win games when you’re ahead the whole time. That’s the luxury Florida State enjoyed Tuesday. UF got off to a slow start by shooting just 24% from the field, 27.7% from three, and 57.1% from the charity stripe. The poor shooting resulted a 20-31 deficit at the intermission.
Expecting adjustments for the second half? Somehow, no! Things actually got worse for the Gators. It took only five minutes for FSU to stretch it to a 20-point lead. From then on they just embarrassed the Gators. Having a slow start in a game is tough to recover from, but having two slow starts in one contest? It becomes much less likely.