State Of The Program: What Is Florida Basketball Right Now?


Mike White was right. 

"We're very emotional as a team," Florida's head coach said after the Georgia comeback win. "When things are going good, we play really well, and you've seen when we give ourselves 20-point deficits." 

And yes, we have seen all of that. 

If you have followed Florida basketball at all this year, you have seen an 12-point loss to in-state rival Florida State. You have seen a nail-biter against Towson. You have seen a 16-point road loss to now-12-13 Missouri. 

You have also seen two comeback wins when the Gators were down more than 20 points. You have also seen the Charleston Classic Trophy be raised. You have also seen a 22-point domination over then-No. 4 Auburn. 

So, what is this team? Is it good? Is it bad? Is it amazing? Does it suck? 

One of the hardest things to do in all of sports is to make sense of college basketball. The reality of hoops at this level, more than any other, is it is far more unpredictable than the sports fan with a strong allegiance to his team wishes. Year to year, a few teams are good enough to rise above poor shooting nights and defensive lapses.

Many across the country thought the Gators would be one of those teams this season. Media and fans alike felt like the preseason No. 6 ranking was justified due to adding graduate transfer Kerry Blackshear Jr. and McDonald's All-Americans Scottie Lewis and Tre Mann. 

Those names have simply not been the star power that UF thought it was getting. They certainly have not been bad, but the thought was that these guys would carry Florida to a deep tournament run. 

With every passing day through the season, that has seemed more and more unlikely and now it seems borderline impossible. But a few moments throughout the season have shown us what this team could be when everything works on a particular night. 

The second half of the Georgia game, the Auburn win and the Charleston Classic gave hope that the Gators might be big time. It made fans think maybe the bad losses were just hiccups and this team is truly special. 

Well, this team is, in fact, not special. And this has been a truly disappointing year for this program by every thought process. 

I don't think that Florida is nearly as bad as Twitter makes it sound like it is, but make no mistake, this team is nowhere close to special or elite.

However, look at the ceiling. 

A few special moments have shown us this year how good this team can be when everything falls in line. White's group is incredibly talented despite laying so many eggs. 

The Gators are a bubble team for the NCAA Tournament as of now, but a decent finish to the regular season and a strong showing in the SEC Tournament will get the Gators in due to the name-brand name alone. And as we know, in March, anything can happen. 

What if Noah Locke keeps shooting extremely well? He has shot 75 percent from three in the past two games. What if backup point guard Ques Glover can come in and give you eight points like he did against Vanderbilt? What if starting point guard Andrew Nembhard's ankle is fine and he gets you 24 points, as he did in the Texas A&M game? 

Obviously, none of these things are a guarantee. However, it is certainly possible. And as disappointing as this season has become, the Gators can still beat anybody on any given night if a few things bounce in their direction.