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No. 2 Florida gets whooped by Arkansas, 80-69

Feb 5, 2013, 9:26 PM EDT

Coty Clarke

This is what I wrote on Monday morning: “Florida is what happens when you take Louisville’s defense and Michigan’s offense and put them onto the same team.”

This is what the score was with just over nine minutes left when No. 2 Florida visited Arkansas on Tuesday night: Arkansas 36, Florida 13.

The Razorbacks would eventually hang on, knocking off the Gators 80-69 behind 13 points and five assists from future NBA Draft pick BJ Young. Only two other players on Arkansas reached double-figures — Marshawn Powell and Marshall Qualls both had 11 points.

And that right there should give you a glimpse of what happened here.

Arkansas’ Bud Walton Arena is one of the tougher places to get a win in college basketball. It’s loud, it’s hot, and the Razorbacks — a streaky, pressing team that thrives on the energy of their crowd — are always ready to play. That’s precisely what happened on Tuesday, as Arkansas made 13 of their first 16 shots and seven of their first nine threes in opening up that 36-13 lead.

Florida simply didn’t have an answer.

There were a couple stretches at the end of the first half and during the second half where it looked like the Gators were ready to make a run and turn this into a ball-game, but inexcusable mistakes cost them. Florida started going 1-on-1 and forcing jumpers, they started settling for threes, they stopped being patient offensively. In the stretches where they moved the ball and got some post touches — essentially, when they ran their offense — Billy Donovan’s club got good looks and chipped away at the lead.

Here’s the perfect example. Midway through the second half, Florida had gotten the lead down to 14 points and had momentum heading in their direction. Then Scottie Wilbekin turned the ball over trying to force penetration. Casey Prather missed two free throws on the next possession, which was followed up by a missed Wilbekin three. After that, Prather threw the ball away, then missed a layup which was followed by another missed layup from Wilbekin and a turnover by Michael Frazier.

Seven possessions. Three turnovers. Two missed free throws. Two turnovers. And a missed three.

That’s not how you make a come back on the road.

College basketball, especially this year’s version of college hoops where there really isn’t a stand-alone team, is a sport where, every so often, a team simply doesn’t show up. It happened to North Carolina last year at Florida State, and they still made the Elite 8 despite losing their lottery pick point guard. Duke isn’t the same team without Ryan Kelly, but they still bounced back nicely from the mollywhopping they received from Miami.

Did Florida’s stats get inflated by absolutely pounding some weak SEC competition? Probably.

Were they overrated heading into Tuesday? It sure looks that way.

Is this still one of, if not the best team in the country? Yes.

And while I wish I hadn’t said that this group is “what happens when you take Louisville’s defense and Michigan’s offense and put them onto the same team” yesterday, I still think that Florida is very much in the conversation for being the best team in the country.

But let’s see how they bounce back from this defeat before we (i.e. me) go and do something like call Florida “what happens when you take Louisville’s defense and Michigan’s offense and put them onto the same team” again.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

  1. xli2006 - Feb 5, 2013 at 9:41 PM

    Sure was a lot of hype/talk from Florida fans (and some sports talking heads) over the last few days to turn around and get dismantled by Arkansas like that. If it wasn’t for some garbage time 3s that would have been a 20+ point difference.

  2. shen90 - Feb 5, 2013 at 10:31 PM

    Game was no where near as close as the final score. Hogs lead by over 20 the MAJORITY of the game.

  3. cwk22 - Feb 5, 2013 at 10:32 PM

    Just got home from the game, and it was awesome. Wish they played like that all the time

  4. oceanpeaks - Feb 5, 2013 at 10:48 PM

    Just the reality of parity in college basketball. Polls are more meaningless than ever, as several of seeds 10 to 15 will prove once again in March. Make no mistake, the Gators are an outstanding team… one that could very well drop 3 more league games as well as the conference tournament.

  5. funktron2x - Feb 6, 2013 at 1:06 AM

    You guys have to fill a blog, but seriously, if you get the game of basketball, you know that anointing teams in early February is just for discussion. It means very little to reality.

  6. fatediesel - Feb 6, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    Typical Mike Anderson team, Arkansas is now 14-1 at home (only loss was to a Syracuse team that still had Southerland), and 0-7 on the road/neutral sites.

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