There is an appropriate level of derp here. - USA TODAY Sports
Florida went on the road again and laid another egg against Kansas State in Kansas City. Should we be worried about the Gators now?
I didn't watch any of Florida's 67-61 loss to Kansas State but the last four minutes of the first half, but I don't think I had to watch it to understand why Florida lost: Billy Donovan's Gators had one player turn in a great performance (Patric Young, with 17 points and 10 rebounds), and no one else matched it. Kenny Boynton got back into double figures with 11 points, but still went 4-for-11 from the field and 1-for-5 from three; Scottie Wilbekin had 11 points on 5-for-11 shooting; Mike Rosario turned in his worst game of 2012-13 with five points on 1-for-9 shooting and just one assist and one steal; Erik Murphy took just five shots and got eight points from them.
Kansas State's 35 rebounds and 16 assists also tell the story: The Wildcats clearly go the ball moving around, leading to a great first half of offense that included 12 made field goals, all but one assisted, and they pulled down 11 offensive rebounds on 28 misses, a stellar 39.3 percent offensive rebounding percentage. (Florida had nine on 34 — 26.4 percent, not terrible, but worse when you consider that two came in the final 30 seconds of play.) That's team play and aggression on the glass that will trouble any team, much less one like Florida that was without Will Yeguete for much of the night and is very susceptible to being blown out on the boards without him.
Young's performance helped make up for that, but it wasn't enough, and now Florida has to deal with its first loss to a non-elite team — Kansas State is 9-2 now, and did rocket up to No. 34 in the KenPom ratings after last night — and rebound before SEC play. Things aren't likely to be as difficult as this game was in South Florida against Air Force or at Yale, but Florida could use a couple of strong performances away from the O'Dome before coming back to Gainesville to start the SEC schedule against Georgia.
What they really need to avoid, though, is getting an L that can get listed under "Bad Loss" on a graphic when talk turns to NCAA Tournament résumés. Kansas State won't be that, I don't think, because the Wildcats' only losses are to Michigan and Gonzaga, both away from home, and there's a rather good chance they get 22 or 23 wins this year, which would almost guarantee an NCAA Tournament berth for them. Losses to NCAA Tournament teams in near-road environments are not bad losses, especially when they happen during the weird penumbra of winter break.
And Florida has a chance to make up for this loss with bigger wins in conference play. KenPom has Florida favored in all of the rest of its games at this moment, with the only win probability under 68 percent coming in Florida's season-closing game against Kentucky at Rupp Arena, and if the Gators can get to 25-plus wins, their accomplishments should more or less ensure them a top-three NCAA Tournament seed; if they win the SEC outright, it might well spell a No. 1 or No. 2 seed.
The sky is not falling, and the ceiling didn't even get lowered on Saturday: It was just a frustrating loss, not a bad one. And I had an entire bottle of sangria in the span of about an hour last night, so I had pretty much forgotten about the game by the time I slept.
I don't recommend draining bottles of sangria in an hour, but y'all might want to try the forgetting part.