Florida's 72-68 loss to Syracuse tonight never really felt to me like it could be a Florida win.
The Gators lost Patric Young to foul trouble early in the first half and struggled to solve Syracuse's zone, save a few Erving Walker threes, before halftime. Then, in the second half, when the Gators got things rolling on the offensive end thanks to Kenny Boynton and some transition proficiency, the Orange got in gear on the run and built a lead Florida never could erase.
These nights happen when you play the No. 3 team in the country on the road, have an off shooting night, lose your only reliable big man to foul trouble, and commit turnovers — 20, the most Florida's likely to commit all year, and three or more coming from Walker, Boynton, Young, and Brad Beal — like they're random acts of kindness.
But there's a lot more to wonder about in the wake of this one, like why Mike Rosario played just six minutes, and why the Gators have problems finishing at the rim, and how Billy Donovan hasn't impressed the importance of setting Young up early upon all his guards who would benefit from the open threes that might result.
Florida's not quite elite, and that's why these Gators haven't beaten the two elite teams they have played so far. They can demonstrate some of the resilience and adaptability that makes elite teams so great by running the table for the rest of their non-conference slate, against teams that lack their talent.