Sports

Gators were ‘in the waiting room’ before TSU loss


Florida’s loss to Oklahoma on Wednesday was certainly frustrating. The Gators didn’t shoot very well, and the Sooners managed to break their aggressive press defense and find a lot of offensive success. Still, UF battled the whole way in that game, trailing by just two in the final two minutes on the road before eventually losing by seven.

That loss dropped the team out of ESPN’s basketball power rankings, but it still remained “in the waiting room” just outside the top 16. Here’s what ESPN said at the time.

Florida drops out of the top 16 following its first loss of the season, to Oklahoma in Norman. The Gators really struggled to stop the Sooners’ inside duo of Tanner Groves and Jalen Hill and had a dreadful night shooting the ball from the perimeter. A couple home games against Texas Southern and North Florida should right the ship before facing Maryland in Brooklyn.

“A couple home games against Texas Southern and North Florida should right the ship…”

Oh, boy.

We all know what happened next. On Monday night, No. 20 Florida suffered what could very well be the worst loss in program history (at least over the last several decades) when it fell at home by 15 points to a previously winless Texas Southern team from the SWAC. Entering that game, ranked SEC teams were 51-0 all-time against SWAC teams.

Now, that streak is over. And, without being overly dramatic, Florida’s season could be too. Sure, the 6-2 Gators will have a lot of opportunities to earn big wins down the stretch of the season. But in an SEC that’s as competitive as it’s ever been both in on-court and coaching talent, just finishing in the top five of the conference will prove to be difficult.

If Florida is even close to the bubble line, a Quadrant 4 loss at home against a bad mid-major team will hang over its head like a storm cloud. If UF wants to feel good about its chances of continuing its NCAA Tournament streak, it will now need to leave little to doubt. Regardless, it’s time for this team to do some soul-searching after the most embarrassing loss of the Mike White era.

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