The Back Nine comes at you after a lovely weekend that did not include many results I was happy with. But that’s sports. Am I right or am I right? Sorry, I watched Groundhog Day too many times last week.
10. It feels like a record that just won’t stop spinning. Florida’s basketball team looked like it might have solved its first half woes against Tennessee, but they were back again at Kentucky. The 11-point deficit just put the Gators in a hole that took a ton of energy to overcome. I remember Urban Meyer being so concerned about the way his first Gator team played on the road that he did everything including changing the butter. So, change the butter Todd Golden.
11. There was a time earlier in the season when Florida was pretty good in the first halves of games on offense. But the defensive philosophy changed and conference play is a totally different animal. Florida scored in the 20s in the first half only twice before SEC play – against FSU and UConn. In the last 11 games, Florida has been in the 20s eight times in the first half and in those games (including Kansas State), they have averaged 22.3 points in the first half. I know things are different in conference games, but there has to be a way to jump-start this team.
12. I know this – the answer is not to give Kowacie Reeves more playing time. We all thought he would have a big season, but his shoot-first mentality isn’t working, which is why he has a hard time getting minutes in the second half now that Florida has shortened the bench. The only Gator with a worse 3-point shooting percentage is Colin Castleton, who has no business taking any more of them. Reeves has shot more threes than any other player and is in a bad shooting slump in part because he takes a lot of bad shots.
13. Now, it’s on to Alabama, which hasn’t lost an SEC game this season and just pummels teams. If any school is ever going to repeat what Florida did when it had both football and basketball titles at the same time, it will be Alabama.
14. This quote from Syracuse Jim Boeheim in an article by the great Pete Thamel on ESPN’s website: “This is an awful place we are in in college basketball. Pittsburgh bought a team. Our guys make like $20,000. Wake Forest bought a team. Miami bought a team. … That’s really where we are and it’s only going to get worse.” Boeheim later took it back and said he’ll be “likely” coming back next year. I get his frustration and it will drive some coaches out of the game. This is what it is.
15. The players seem to have fun at the Pro Bowl and I only know this because I watched a little of the flag football game Sunday because we were in a restaurant and it was staring me down daring me to watch. The truth is that there is nothing All-Star games can do to make it interesting to me anymore. Maybe if they had a skills challenge where you got a chance to shoot down a spy balloon.
16. The Athletic put its Spotlight team on the Jaden Rashada story and I highly recommend the article. It clarifies a lot, but there are still plenty of unanswered questions. This is not a bad kid and we all need to let him enjoy life in peace.
17. I used to do a Tweet of the Week and I may bring it back at some point. There were so many funny ones about the spy balloon and if you haven’t seen the cold opening to SNL, go Google it now. But this Tweet was from Super 70s Sports – “Chinese spy balloon hit, reports coming in now it was a shanked Brett Maher extra point attempt that has taken down the craft.”
18. Anybody find a wedding band? Mine slipped off for the first time in 23 years and I think it was at the gym. I know, a likely story. Here’s a playlist while I start my search:
* ”Pages” by White Reaper. Or did I give you this one already? Well, here it is again.
* ”It Ain’t Over” by The Black Keys (watch the grammar, boys).
* And for an old one. “Mamunia” by Paul McCartney and Wings. You know, his “other” band.