Gators want consistency starting at Missouri

It has been a rough stretch of games for the Florida Gator basketball team. A group that was in the top four of the SEC just a few weeks ago finds themselves tied for ninth at the moment. Florida head coach Mike White needs his team to do the little things on offense and defense to get a big win in Columbia and carry over into the SEC Tournament.

Florida Gators (17-13, 8-9 SEC) @ Missouri Tigers (10-20, 3-14 SEC)

Saturday, March 5, 2016; 7:30 p.m.

Columbia, Missouri; Mizzou Arena


For Missouri, it is their last game of the year. Banned from postseason play because of NCAA rules issues with the former coaching staff, the gator are the last team on the schedule.  They will no doubt play hard against Florida.

“This is big for them but it has to be equally as big for us,” White said at his presser on Friday. “Our backs have to be against the wall. We’re going into it like it’s a must win game. That’s our mentality… to get us to .500 in league play. Hopefully it sparks a little momentum where now we have a clean slate going into the SEC Tournament. We’ve got to have the anything can happen mentality there.”

“We have to have success at Missouri. We’ve got to find a way to get some consecutive stops, get in a defensive rhythm and then have some carryover with some of the things we did offensively against Kentucky.”

Kim Anderson coaches the Tigers in a really tough situation. White likes their starting group which is fast, but has a big man in the middle in Ryan Rosburg that can do some nice things.

“I think Coach Anderson has done a really good job with the transition and the adversity,” White said. “He’s had all kinds of adversity of course. They play really hard and together. They have really good team speed. I think Rosburg is a load in the interior with his back to the basket. He has really good feet, really good hands, and he’s a really skilled player. They’ve had shooting lulls like us.

“I think they are a team a lot like us in that when they are making threes they are very dangerous.

“They are very capable, having beaten South Carolina pretty handily. We finished the season up there last year and it wasn’t very fun from what I hear. It is an opportunity to make up for that one, but it will be very difficult.”



Florida Projected Starters

Ht. / Wt.



F Devin Robinson (SO)

6-8, 195



F Dorian Finney-Smith (SR)

6-8, 220



C John Egbunu (SO)

6-11, 255



G KeVaughn Allen (FR)

6-2, 183



G Chris Chiozza (SO)

6-0, 175




Missouri Projected Starters




F Kevin Puryear (FR)

6-7, 236



F Ryan Rosburg (SR)

6-10, 260



G Terrence Phillips (FR)

5-11, 175



G Tramaine Isabell (SO)

6-0, 178



G Namon Wright (SO)

6-5, 202



More than their opponent, Florida needs to continue to fix internally. Issues on offense and putting the ball in the basket have hurt them in too many games.  A few fluctuations in their defensive efforts have lost them a game or two as well. White is just looking for them to find a happy medium on offense and be consistent with that medium, while getting that defensive consistency we saw earlier in the year.

“This team from the first day of practice we’ve had major consistency issues,” White said. “Some nights we shoot the ball well and sometimes we can’t throw it into the ocean. Some nights free throws win the game and the next four games we can’t make a free throw. Some nights we have a ton of success doing this offensively, then we can’t do it for 3-4 games, then all of a sudden this becomes our strength.

“Defensively, at times we’ve looked like a top 5 team in the country and at times we have defensive lapses. It’s just consistency. If you can get the offense that we displayed against Kentucky with some made free throws and some made open threes. That is what you want.

“Some of the defensive games we’ve played… at Georgia, at Michigan State, at Texas A&M, a couple of these home games where we really defended at a high level, against West Virginia… this team has struggled to do it consistently.”

This is supposed to be the exciting time of year for Gator basketball. March Madness and the NCAA Tournament is something the team and fans have grown accustomed to participating in. Right now it is a big question whether the Gators will be in the tournament. White hopes and believes his team is pumped to try and make it happen.  

“I think the finale is right around the corner,” White said. “It would be more exciting if we could have some success at Missouri and we’ll have to play well to win a road game against a team that knocked off South Carolina a couple of home games ago. It is their last game and they will play as hard as they can possibly play.

“Knowing the SEC Tournament is right around the corner where everyone gets a clean slate. We want to be a part of March Madness. This team has worked really hard. We haven’t done all the right things down the stretch… some of it though is that we’ve played some good teams and we’re not a great team.

“We know that probably outside of Kentucky, the way we’ve played to this point, other than (Kentucky) we can be really competitive with any other team. You hope to make some strides in the next week where anything can happen regardless of who you play.

“Can we make a push?  We hope so. We hope we maybe have an opportunity to have some success here in the next week.”

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