No one expected Florida (16-17) to be selected for the NCAA Tournament. The bracket was announced at 6 p.m. on Sunday, but any hope for Florida would have come at 8:30 p.m. when the NIT bracket was released.
However, the Gators weren’t selected and saw their season officially come to an end on Sunday night. Florida did not want to accept a bid into another smaller postseason tournament.
After exiting non-conference play with a 7-6 record, the Gators were fighting an uphill battle. The non-conference schedule helped give Florida one of the 10 toughest schedules in the country, but that schedule was built for the Gators to build their tournament resume in non-conference play.
The tough non-conference schedule didn’t result in wins against any of the marquee opponents, and Florida was behind the eight ball as it started Southeastern Conference play. Inside the conference, things didn’t get much better for the Gators. Florida went 8-10 in conference, and its only SEC win against a team that made the NCAA Tournament was against Arkansas.
The season came to an end with Dorian Finney-Smith leading the team with 13.1 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Michael Frazier ended the year averaging 12.1 points, but his statistics were hurt after playing through a high ankle sprain late in the season. Frazier shot 38 percent from behind the three-point line, well below where he was during his first two seasons at Florida.
While Finney-Smith and Frazier carried the load, Florida was never able to get consistent production from other players. Eli Carter was third on the team with 8.8 points per game. Kasey Hill’s 7.2 points per game meant Florida’s four top scorers were guards.
The team’s biggest issue was production from big men. Jon Horford struggled to score around the basket and averaged 4.8 rebounds per game. Chris Walker’s athleticism was easy to see, but he didn’t develop the way Florida needed him to.
The result was a disappointing season for Florida, who now waits for players to make decisions about returning or turning pro.