For all of its struggles in the 2014-15 season, Florida basketball has largely taken care of the teams it should have clobbered. The Gators are 6-1 against teams outside the top 100 of the KenPom rankings, their only loss coming on Jacob Kurtz's unfathomable tip-in that helped them beat themselves in a game that Florida State also participated in.
Mississippi State, Florida's opponent in a rare Saturday night game in Gainesville (7 p.m., Fox Sports Net/Sun Sports), is one of those teams.
The Bulldogs come in ranked 225th in KenPom, and plummeted more than 30 spots after an execrable night against Tennessee on Wednesday: The Vols scored exactly 1.00 points per possession, but still won by 14 in a 61-47 rout in which Rick Ray's team made 11 shots and missed 20 free throws, scoring just 0.77 points per trip.
For perspective, not only has Florida's "struggling" offense not scored under 0.86 points per possession all season, the Gators program hasn't had a performance that bad in the KenPom era. The closest any Florida team came to that brownout (in which the Bulldogs posted 0.775 points per possession, going to three significant digits) was a futile night at Ohio State in 2007, when Florida made exactly a third of its buckets, and only Marressee Speights (!) and Jai Lucas (!!!) made more than two field goals.
This is a bad Mississippi State team, in other words, one that hasn't topped 70 points in a game against a team in the KenPom top 150, and it's just shy of the 300s in offensive efficiency. The Bulldogs are 343rd (of 351 teams) in three-point percentage, and turnover-prone, ranking in the 300s in both offensive turnover percentage and steal percentage. Gavin Ware leads a strong front line, but this team, by and large, can't shoot, doesn't defend well, and definitely can't score.
So, for Florida, this is a gimme of sorts, even without Jon Horford or a fully healthy Michael Frazier II. And one thing this team cannot do right now, if it wants to keep NCAA Tournament dreams alive, is gag on the gimmes.