Florida men’s basketball is currently in the midst of a six-game win streak. The Gators went on this tear after back-to-back offensively challenged losses to South Carolina and Vanderbilt in January. After Florida let one slip away at home against the Commodores, the Gators held a players’ only team meeting to attempt to regroup - and regroup they did.
During their six-game win streak, the Gators have had six different players lead the team in scoring - and scoring leader KeVaughn Allen has not even been one of them. (Canyon Barry is Florida’s leading scorer in SEC play.) This team is buying into the challenge from Mike White to ramp up their defensive intensity and worry about winning as a team rather than being concerned with individual stats.
Florida’s success over the subsequent six-game span can be attributed to the team’s ability to share, communicate, and work together to turn defense into offense. During this period, the Gators have recorded 99 assists to 71 turnovers. Five of the Gators’ last six wins have come by double digits, with just Saturday’s 71-62 win over Texas A&M being the outlier.
The Gators are on the road tonight against Auburn, looking to add a seventh victory to that streak. Florida is playing on the road on Valentine’s Day for the fourth straight year. With six games left in the regular season, tonight marks the Gators’ first of four remaining road games. This season’s team will only make two more appearances in the O’Dome.
Florida is confident and in a good place right now. The Gators are ranked No. 15 in the AP poll, ranked No. 11 by the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee and in line for a No. 3 seed, and in a three-way tie atop the SEC standings with Kentucky and South Carolina. Florida has more SEC wins now (ten) than they did at the end of last season (nine).
The road to the finish line isn’t easy - dates with co-SEC leaders Kentucky and South Carolina still loom - but the Gators are peaking at the right time. And unselfishness is a big part of why.
And as always, this Weekly Open Thread is for any and all comments on any and all topics, with the rules of commenting decorum still applying.