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NCAA Basketball Florida GatorsSEC Basketball

Are Close Games a Cause for Concern for the Florida Gators?

Dak Dillon-USA Today Sports

Well, before we jump to conclusions about the Florida Gators and their national championship potential, let’s quickly look into the numbers.

In games this season that are decided by 12 points of more, the Gators are an astonishing 21-0. That’s credit to Florida’s talent level and their overall dominance at times this season. However, the Gators have played 25 games this season and ironically enough, they are 0-4 in games that are decided by 11 points or fewer.

Let’s dive into Tuesday night’s trip to Missouri, a contest in which the Tigers rallied late in the second half to knock off the fifth-ranked team in the nation. Credit Missouri and their comeback because that was the ultimate result on Tuesday night, but just what is up with that strange stat that the Gators are facing in close contests?

Oddly enough, the Gators led Missouri by 13 points in Tuesday night’s loss and according to the numbers, that’s a game that they should have put away and came away with. Instead, Florida failed to keep the Tigers at bay.

As the month of February heads into its stretch run, so too does the remaining regular season schedule. Florida needs to put an end to this drought of close games if they hope to make a deep run within the NCAA Tournament. With that being said, it’s probably just an odd trend, especially considering the dividing numbers in the statistic are 11 and 12 points.

Late game execution and the Gators’ inability to designate a go-to-guy may however be the bigger problem. Florida just hasn’t been in enough situations this season where they have needed to rely on one elite scorer when they need a basket the most.

Kenny Boynton had a chance to be the hero against Missouri, but came up short on the Gators’ final possession. Florida needs to live and learn and hope that they can buck this trend of close contests because there are only more tight games that are due to arrive.

 

Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS