The Gators, now 16-10 and 6-7 in the league, have gone from a bubble team to a team looking at wasted opportunities.
And the loss to Texas A&M really hurt UF’s chances to make the NCAA Tournament.
It doesn’t mean the Gators can’t get in, but they are going to have to win some games against really good teams or you can say hello to my little friend, also known as the NIT.
It’s not been a matter of Florida quitting or not playing hard. They just haven’t been very good after a fast start.
Here’s a stat for you that I talked about on the Tailgate Wednesday – Florida has scored fewer than 30 points in 13 different halves of basketball this season. That included a season-low 20 at Texas A&M in the first half.
The Gators have been equal opportunity brick-layers with seven of those being the first halves of games and the other six the second halves.
They are what they are. Florida is 11-3 at home but only 2-6 on the road. Fortunately, these two games are at home and – again – offer a chance to score major brownie points with the NCAA selection committee.
NET REPORT: Do you really want to know how far Florida has slipped? The Gators are currently 54th because they are 1-7 in Quad 1 games. That’s not good. But these are both Quad 1 possibilities.
Auburn is seventh in the NET and unless it slips a lot will be a No. 1 seed in the Big Dance. The Tigers are 7-2 in Quad 1 games and have only lost once on the road.
Arkansas is 29th in the NET despite only having two Quad 1 wins.
UP NEXT, AUBURN: It’s a sellout Saturday at 2 p.m. which makes you wonder if people are coming to see a team that can win the whole thing or the Gators.
Auburn has been strong all year, now 24-2 and 12-1 in the SEC. After Kentucky’s Tuesday loss the Tigers now have a two-game lead in the SEC.
This Bruce Pearl team is a mixture of recruiting and transfers. Jabari Smith may be the first pick in the NBA Draft and leads Auburn at 15.8 points a game. He has the ability to take over games both inside and outside.
Transfer Wendell Green Jr. is averaging 12.7 ppg, but the biggest story might be the biggest player. Walker Kessler, a transfer from North Carolina, leads the SEC in field goal percentage and blocked shots while averaging 12.0 ppg.
THEN, IT’S ARKANSAS: The Razorbacks have a date with Tennessee at home on Saturday before traveling to Gainesville for a Tuesday 7 p.m. game (moved up from 9 p.m.)
Arkansas is 20-6 and 9-4 in the SEC and has the SEC’s second-leading scorer in J.D. Notae (18.8 PPG), who also leads the conference in steals.
There are three other players averaging in double figures including Jalen Williams, who is second in the SEC in rebounding.
Arkansas is fourth in the SEC in scoring and leads the conference in free throws made.
IN 2022: Auburn beat Florida at home earlier this year 85-71 behind 23 points from Georgia transfer K.D. Johnson. The Tigers shot 53.6 percent from the field in the game to offset Colin Castleton’s 22 points and 10 rebounds.
This is Florida’s only game against Arkansas unless the two teams meet in the SEC Tournament.
BOTTOM LINE: This season is certainly headed back in the wrong direction, but one thing hasn’t changed – Florida needs to beat some good teams. Here are two chances. Good luck. It’s getting late.