Frenette: Early exit for Florida at NCAA tournament

Gene Frenette
Gator Sports

Florida has looked so out of sync recently, it’s hard to see the Gators winning one game in the NCAA Tournament, let alone getting to the second weekend. I thought the selection committee was mighty generous giving them a No. 7 seed.

Coach Mike White made a disturbing statement after UF was eliminated with relative ease by Tennessee in the SEC tournament, which included the ejection of Omar Payne for throwing an elbow at the head of UT’s John Fulkerson. White said the Gators “lacked the emotional maturity that you need day in and day out to be a championship level team.” That’s also an indictment of the coach not being able to develop that maturity on the court.

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Another concern is the Florida offense has become too dependent lately on Tre Mann’s scoring. It needs a balanced offense to win games, and losses the past two weeks to NCAA teams Tennessee and Missouri indicate the Gators’ lack of offensive punch is becoming a significant issue.

Not that I’m sold on Virginia Tech, UF’s first-round opponent, but the 10th-seeded Hokies have a solid defense (allowing 65.5 ppg) that can disrupt any opponent’s rhythm. I’ve got the Gators being an NCAA one-and-done for the first time since 2010, back when BYU and scoring sensation Jimmer Fredette took out Florida in double overtime in Oklahoma City.

Gene Frenette is a sports columnist at The Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville, a Gannett paper and sister publication of The Gainesville Sun. He can be reach at gfrenette@jacksonville.com: (904) 359-4540  

South Region bracket