The Florida Gators (19-11, 10-7) were able to right the ship on another rough patch to their campaign. After losing 3-straight in deflating fashion, the Gators were able to respond by beating the then No. 12 ranked Auburn Tigers 72-66, and followed that up with a dominating 73-52 win over the Alabama Crimson Tide. A season filled with inconsistent tendencies, what does the quick turnaround mean for this Florida team?
Going into the Auburn game, the questions started to come at Florida on whether they were even a team that could make the tournament. After suffering a 3-game losing streak to teams that are all likely to miss out on the big dance, doubters were starting to think the Gators could join them on missing out. And after the past 2 victories, the stock on this Florida team is starting to trend back upwards.
The move paid off notably for Bassett, who played the whole game with a chip on his shoulder, scoring 12 points and grabbing 6 boards. Bassett’s efforts were rewarded by receiving another start against Alabama, but only received 5 minutes of playing time.
Allen, a preseason First Team All-SEC selection, has struggled all year long, and hasn’t looked himself for most of the year. The streaky-scorer at times has been hesitant to shoot, passing up looks to try and find a teammate. But that all changed this past Saturday against Auburn.
Allen scored 24 points in the win, coming off the bench but still playing big time minutes. Allen shot an impressive 6-10 from deep, including a 65-footer to beat the first half buzzer. He followed up that performance with 13 against Alabama, as he looks to continue to improve his play.
Hudson got back to his early season form, scoring at will the past two games. Against Auburn, the junior scored 19, with critical plays down the stretch including a 3-point-play with under a minute left, and followed that with a huge block on defense.
On Tuesday, Hudson was lights out, shooting 9-13 from the field while scoring 27 points. Hudson was shining like he did in the PK80 Invitational, which garnered a lot of attention. For Florida to make a run in the tournament, both scorers must be relentless.
It’s critical for Florida to get back into form, and sho and that they can be a legitimate threat. Despite being one of the most inconsistent teams in the nation, the Gators have one the of the most unique resumes in the country.
Florida has 9 Top 50 KenPom wins, which is tied for best of the country with multiple top contenders, including the No. 1 ranked Virginia Cavaliers. The Gators have a chance to pick up another one, with the No. 23 Kentucky Wildcats traveling to Gainesville this coming Saturday, to close out the regular season.
Looking at the resume, the Gators have shown they be a contender in March. But looking at the same resume, they’ve shown that they could be a blunder. The Gators must continue to play with maximum effort and continue to get contributions from their key guys. This team is tough to put a finger on, but if they continue to play the way they are, this team could prove to the country that they are a team to be reckoned with.