Florida's Brandon McKissic, left, Tyree Appleby, front center, Anthony Duruji, rear center and Colin Castleton (12) react after losing to Maryland during an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

Can the Gators Men’s Basketball team change their fortune?

The Gators are heading to South Carolina:

Florida’s Brandon McKissic, left, Tyree Appleby, front center, Anthony Duruji, rear center and Colin Castleton (12) react after losing to Maryland during an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

The Florida Gators men’s basketball team (9-6) faces off against South Carolina Gamecocks (10-6) on Saturday at 1 p.m.

The Gators have had the definition of an up and down season so far. They started the season hot, winning six straight games. Ever since those games, the Gators have struggled to win, losing six and winning only three games. They have also lost their last three games. What happened?

The last three losses could be attributed to the team playing its toughest competition. Florida has faced No. 24 ranked Alabama, No. 4 ranked Auburn, and No. 12 ranked Louisiana State. With that being said the shooting of the Gators has been inefficient, to say the least. In their past three games, the Gators have averaged 25 three-point attempts and have converted at an average of just over 28%.

Over the last three games, 46% of the Gators’ shot selection has been behind the three-point line. Almost half of the shots they take are three-pointers, and when you convert those shots less than a third of the time you won’t win games.

The positives you can take from the game is that in every game, the Gators have battled.

When being asked about the tough stretch of games and the close contests Florida’s leading scorer Colin Castleton had this to say, “I’m not happy with a loss… I hate losing. I don’t care who it is.”

According to ESPN, the Gators are going into South Carolina as the 59% favorite.

The tale of two different teams:

https://twitter.com/GamecockMBB/status/1482069696857841664?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1482069696857841664%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.wruf.com%2Fwp-admin%2Fpost.php%3Fpost%3D522596action%3Dedit

The Gamecocks have a similar record to the Gators but the expectations are indeed different. Coming off the back of last year’s team having a record of 6-15, the Gamecocks looked to change their fate this season. South Carolina was able to beat established programs like Georgetown, Vanderbilt and Florida State.

They, like many other teams, have been hindered by Covid-19 protocols. Since this struggle at the beginning of the season, they have been able to compete and win some games.

South Carolina’s play-by-play announcer Derek Scott spoke about what the team’s calling card is.

South Carolina has been able to go back to the team that is stingy on defense, forcing the opposition to take tough shots.

The Gators and the Gamecocks play a similar high energy tough mentality defense. This upcoming game will show off the two hearts of the team.

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