Feb 28, 2012; Nashville,TN, USA; Florida Gators forward/center Patric Young (4) (center) looks for help against Vanderbilt Commodores guard Dai-Jon Parker (24) (left) and Vanderbilt forward Jeffery Taylor (44) (right) as Vanderbilt center Festus Ezeli (3) looks on during the first half at Memorial Gym. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-US PRESSWIRE
We saw everything that this Florida team can currently do on Tuesday night in the Gators' 77-67 loss to Vanderbilt.
The Gators made some threes, but not as many of them (just eight) or as efficiently (on 24 tries) as they once could. Florida defended poorly, allowing Vanderbilt to shoot 50 percent from the three-point line and better than 50 percent from the field. The Gators got almost no offense from Patric Young (four points) and their bench (12 total points), but they took care of the ball, committing just nine turnovers.
Florida got superb play and decision-making from Bradley Beal (15 points, five rebounds, three steals, two blocks, and zero chance of not getting "THREE MORE YEARS!" yelled at him on Sunday against Kentucky) and Erving Walker (15 points, five rebounds, three assists, and a couple of nifty drives), but not nearly enough presence inside from Young and Erik Murphy. The Gators allowed Vandy to shoot 26 free throws, but still made runs in the second half to keep them in contention until the final minutes.
And, ultimately, they lost a game that I never thought they would win, especially after falling behind early, but only after gritting their teeth and playing about as well as they can play as currently constituted. This team misses Will Yeguete, and the healthy Young, and the Beal and Rosario and Kenny Boynton that were superb from distance, and none of those things are coming back, leaving a team with fatal flaws and prestige that isn't commensurate with its profile to play out the string with everything unraveling at once.
We saw what could have been with these Gators. But fate has cruelly hidden that vision away in our memories, and now we are left with what these Gators are. I'll keep watching — I always do — but I can't say I'm optimistic about the view.