It’s Now Or Never For Florida Basketball

GrahamMarsh_

Two convincing wins and a top-five victory. 

That’s what Florida basketball can look back on in its past two contests. The first game was a 71-55 domination over Ole Miss and the second was an even more dominant 69-47 outing against No. 4 Auburn. 

These games, along with a strong stretch of performances in all of January outside the Missouri game, have Gator fans feeling as optimistic as they have since the season began. And because of that, this success has to be sustained. Coach Mike White and his team can not afford to let the fan base down after the rollercoaster that this year has been so far.

2020 so far has been kind to the Gators. It began with a thrilling, double-overtime comeback against Alabama at home on January 4th. Then, UF went up to South Carolina and dismantled the favored Gamecocks 81-68. 

Then, Missouri happened. 

After a stretch of success, it seemed that Florida relapsed back into old bad habits when it was thoroughly handled by a bad Missouri team in Columbia, 91-75. 

But these last two games against the Rebels and Tigers have proven that the Mizzou game was more of a fluke than a trend. UF is now 4-1 in January, and this is the time of the year to heat up. 

There are many reasons why UF is playing better. You can decide for yourself what the biggest culprit is. 

Is it Scottie Lewis’s offense growing up before our eyes? Is it Andrew Nembhard being more of a scoring threat? Is it Omar Payne getting more minutes?

Or is it simply that the Gators are finally just shooting better? Regardless, Florida fans have to be optimistic about the upward trend. And that optimism is why it has to stay this way, with games coming up against LSU and No. 2 Baylor.

If the stock on this team falls again, it could completely crash. 

This team entered the year ranked No. 6 in the preseason poll. An embarrassing 63-51 loss to Florida State early in the season wildly upset fans and dropped the Gators in the polls. 

A few games later, UF wasn’t ranked at all. A few good wins here and there got overshadowed by bad losses and dog fights with teams like Towson that shouldn’t belong on the same floor as Florida. 

However, the good of this team, now appears to be more consistent than the bad. Fans are back in good spirits, as the O’Connell Center was full against Auburn to watch the blowout. 

A season that’s all over the place like this can make a fan base fragile. And right now, Gator fans must be handled with care. 

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