We have reached the breaking point for the Gators. With five SEC games remaining, the Gators are firmly on the NCAA bubble, hoping that the wand will catch them instead of popping them.
Looking at the SEC stats it is pretty obvious what is hurting the Gators; defense. There are numerous reasons for this, all of which have been discussed constantly by those who follow this ball club. After two years where our worst defender was actually very good (Humphrey), watching Calathes get beat off the dribble and Speights and Werner get pushed around, we forgot what bad defense looked like. Predicting the NIT for this team in the fall wasn't too out there, but predicting that UF would be shooting worse than their opponents might have been. (Yes, it's by .01, but it's the thought that counts. Besides, without 20 points in OT, the Gators would have been outscored overall.)
UF escaped the last time out against South Carolina, 73-71. Guess how much SC shot from the field.
The only thing that saved UF was that they had 64 shots to the Gamecocks' 53. Currently, the problem is that only Speights is willing to grab offensive rebounds. Werner can get in there sometimes, but on a team of chuckers, Werner can't hang out at the 3-point line and think Speights has it under control. (I know I rip on Werner, but come on! He's 6-foot-7! If I was that tall, I'd post up people in Publix! Did you know he's second in 3-point attempts in SEC play? And he's shooting 19%! But he did shave his head, so that's kinda cool.)
Anyway, the Gators need to understand they can pull this off. Ignore their own doubts on defense and kill those voices telling them they can't do it. (But Werner should listen to that voice telling him not to settle for a three with 15 seconds left on the shot clock.) By now, we all know this isn't your older brother's Gators. Hopefully they can get that freedom of lessened expectations and start kicking some ass. Maybe some Against Me! will get them excited.
See? Even Against Me! wants them to get some stops on defense. Get Larry Shyatt on this!