It seemed like Mike White had turned a page. Through six games, the Gators were 6-0 and riding high after a buzzer beater over a very good Ohio State team.
Less than two weeks later, the #FireMikeWhite crowd on social media is back in full force.
The Gators dropped their second straight contest on Monday, but this one was vastly different than the road defeat in Norman last week.
Florida was taking on Texas Southern, a SWAC team that entered winless at 0-7. The Gators were a 24-point favorite and many thought that spread was too little.
Instead of Florida running laps around inferior competition, the Tigers were the ones setting the pace leaving the Gators with more questions than answers.
The defense that was lauded for their performances throughout the 6-0 start has fallen off significantly. The Tigers shot 54% from the floor, but limited the Gators to just 38%.
The biggest issue: rebounding. The Gators finished -23 on the glass despite not playing anyone taller than 6’9. 6’11 forward Colin Castelton has to be better against smaller lineups. The senior from Deland finished with 12 points and 5 rebounds. Fellow starting forward Anthony Duruji finished with 9 points and 4 boards in 24 minutes of play.
Furthermore, Florida is failing to find the hot hand. Brandon McKissic led the Gators with 15 points on 4-6 shooting (all threes), but that was all the looks he got. Maybe, if McKissic gets a few extra looks, the game is closer.
But, probably not. Here’s why:
Fans clamored over this team because of the effort and the intensity they played with. What has happened over the last two games is incredibly lethargic play leading to embarrassing results. Furthermore, it’s exactly what we’ve seen from White’s teams in the past.
For this team to get over the hump and play beyond opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament, they must play with the aggression and intensity that we saw over the first month of the season, not what ever seen this last two weeks.
The silver lining is obvious. It’s still very early in the season and a team full of newcomers was bound to experience ups and downs. It just wasn’t supposed to come at the hands of Texas Southern.