Good wins: vs. Tennessee, vs. Michigan State (neutral), Florida State, at Ole Miss, vs. Mississippi State
Bad losses: at Georgia, at South Carolina, vs. South Alabama
Balanced Scoring: All five of the Gator starters average at least 10 points per game. None of the starters are seniors, so this group can get even better next year. Kenny Boynton leads the team, scoring 13.5 points a game. Little man Ervin Walker stands at 5’8” and runs the show. He is one of the quickest players in the country, averaging 12.7 points and five assists. The Gators are also solid underneath with Alex Tyus and Vernon Macklin. Tyus averages seven rebounds and Macklin averages 5.6 while shooting 60.9 percent from the field.
Clutch Shooter: The Gators’ other starter is junior Chandler Parsons, who serves as Florida’s go-to guy in the clutch. He is the only player in the country who has hit two buzzer shots this season: He hit a half-court shot to win at N.C. State and later made a three-pointer to beat South Carolina. He averages 12 points, 6.8 rebounds and shoots 36.7 percent from three.
Poor shooting: Shot selection is the Gators’ biggest weakness, and it starts with their backcourt. Walker is shooting 34.8 percent from the field. While he leads the team in scoring average, Boynton shoots 36.8 percent from the field and an abysmal 27.4 percent from three. These poor shooting numbers are because the youth of the backcourt and quick shots on the offensive end. As a team, Florida only shoots 44.4 percent from the field and 30.8 percent from three.
The Gators have been inconsistent this season. They have some really good wins against Michigan State, Florida State and Tennessee, but suffered bad losses against South Carolina, Georgia and South Alabama. They are 3-7 against the top 50 and 7-6 away from home. Their computer numbers aren’t great, but with a weak NCAA bubble this year, Florida should have enough to get in.
NCAA Tournament Prediction: Second round. The Gators are young and have plenty of flaws, but the bottom line is they are a well-balanced team. Walker can get to the basket with ease, Parsons is a three-point sharp-shooter, and the Gators rebound the ball pretty well. Their defensive strength is their quickness and ability to get steals. They need the right matchup in the first round, but the fact that they’ve won a lot of close games should pay off for the Gators for at least one tournament win.