UCF talking points: Who’s to blame?


Florida headed off the Amway Center court in stunned silence following Wednesday night’s 57-54 loss to UCF.

At 5-2, the Gators will probably tumble out of both major college basketball polls by Monday. The loss at home to Ohio State a was understandable. Poor halves at home against Morehead State and Florida Atlantic were acceptable, because the Gators found a way to win.

But UF’s loss to a UCF squad that missed 14 straight shots in the second half was numbing. Gator Nation was left with the same sinking feeling that came following the FSU football loss.

Who’s to blame? There’s plenty to go around, but let’s take a look at the two basic elements.

— Is it the coaching? Some have suggested that Florida’s offense doesn’t play to the strengths of its players. It’s a fair point, and a refrain heard in football with quarterback John Brantley trying to run a spread offense. Running a pick-and-roll offense requires the threat of a perimeter shot, an so far Florida has been lousy from the field (48 percent) and 3-point line (33.1 percent) this season. But it’s hard to re-invent an offense seven games into a season, and the Gators don’t have enough players with the ability to take defenders off the dribble and create offense. If anything, the coaching staff deserves criticism for players regressing instead of progressing in recent years. It happened with Dan Werner, who peaked as a sophomore. Alex Tyus’ production has gotten progressively worse since his sophomore year. Chandler Parsons had an outstanding junior season, but so far has been a disappointment seven games into his senior season.

— Is it the players? Florida coach Billy Donovan suggested a chemistry issue following the UCF loss. My observations are of a team that’s not doing the little things for each other — screening, cutting, making the extra pass, etc. Instead, we are seeing point guard Erving Walker continue to dribble into trouble, Alex Tyus loft ill-advised 3-point attempts and Chandler Parsons make reckless drives to the basket. Florida hasn’t been as 3-point happy as some would think, of their 383 shot attempts, only 30.8 percent (118) have been from beyond the arc. But at times, Florida has settled for mid-range shots instead of pounding the ball inside. Kenny Boynton had a decent look on a 15-footer with the Gators down 53-52 with 33.7 seconds left against UCF, but could a shot closer to the rim have been more effective? Florida also is failing to cash in at the free-throw line, which is a sign of a lack of practice and lack of focus. The Gators are just 99-150 (66 percent) from the line this season.


  1. Anyone stop to hit the Sagarin ratings? Real-time RPI? UCF is ranked in the top 20 in *BOTH*. UCF did beat USF, and destroy all other (even if far lesser) opponents. UCF has held all opponents to under 60. And UCF led virtually all of the game against Florida.

    Maybe Florida just lost to a good opponent?

    This isn’t football where UCF has choked out-of-conference and has beaten nobody. Even in C-USA, UCF’s opponents haven’t been the best, and UCF dropped a contest to Southern Miss. UCF’s Sagarin rating in football is 51. That sounds about right with 0 quality wins.

    UCF has now had a pair of top 50 recruiting classes. Donnie Jones took that talent and put it to a full court press. Against weaker opponents, UCF doesn’t let them breathe. Against stronger opponents like USF and UF, the score stays low and the shots aren’t great.

    Even Vegas had the line at -3 to -3.5. Time to face facts. Florida has its issues, but it isn’t bad. UCF has just been surprisingly good this year. Strength-of-schedule is poor for UCF. But UCF can prove with wins against UMass and Miami out-of-conference, and Memphis and a solid Southern Miss in conference.

    Florida fans shouldn’t be scrambling. Losses to Ohio State and, if the rankings hold, UCF aren’t looking like anything but close losses to top 25 teams at this point. Chill. It’s a long season. Don’t dismiss Florida any more than UCF’s win.

  2. without question, UCF could have crushed UF had they made their shots in the second half. Face it, UF is stagnating, can no longer monopolize state and private funding and is reaching an athletic dark age, with old rivals thriving and new state teams growing at unprecedented rates. Maybe one day, UF will stop focusing this much on sports and work on presenting Florida with a top ten academic institution…

  3. It’s interesting that in crunch time against FSU, Donovan had many of the younger players on the floor and they won, while against UCF he stuck with the veterans and they lost. I wonder if Young or Yaguette had been in the game would have been able to get a defensive rebound at that critical point in the game when UCF kept extending possessions. Both Parsons and Tyus seem lost in the offense and I hate to say it but Parsons seems to suffer from the same shooting issues that handicapped Werner, i.e. he’s losing the game between his ears. If the seniors can’t produce then why wouldn’t you start getting the younger players more game experience?

  4. If anything, the coaching staff deserves criticism for players regressing instead of progressing in recent years

    I’m glad somebody had the guts to finally print this. Kevin, please don’t backtrack like Pat did and start blaming the lack of talent as the reason for all our woes. I often wondered if we had such good coaches, why our players had to go elsewhere in the summer to learn how to shoot better.

  5. Kevin, shooting 48 percent from the field is hardly lousy (maybe so against the competition so far). I do agree, however, losing against UCF is unacceptable. Florida doesn’t play as a team. There is too much 1-on-1 by Walker and Boynton especially when we really need a bucket.

  6. The basketball team is actually even a worse disaster than the football team. The football team has had only had 1 down year. Because 1 or 2 great players can make a huge impact in basketball it should be easier to turn a basketball team around than a football team…yet Donovan is in year four of absolute average.

    For basketball I do not see a light at the end of the tunnel. This is a veteran team, what are we going to do next year when we have to replace 3 seniors on the front line?

  7. This team can not shoot the ball, period. Not from 3, not from 10 ft, not from the charity stripe. Teams that don’t shoot well have to play solid D and out hustle their opponent. I couldn’t believe how lethargic we looked last night. UCF held the ball at their end for 4 minutes straight because they worked hard to get the ball (plus some bad calls, shame on the refs). I don’t remember 1 offensive rebound on our side. No one helped each other. UF would get down the court and everyone would stand around while the person with the ball tried to be a one man show. Then he would get stopped and force an ill-advised pass or a bad shot. Total repeat of last year. UF was the team with depth, but you couldn’t tell when you watched. UCF played with heart. Where’s the heart guys?
    Bryan is right, UCF is good, but that’s not what beat UF. OSU beat us, but we beat ourselves last night.

  8. I don’t think all the players have regressed- Macklin is clearly a more polished post player this year. I think the 04s all improved during their careers at UF. But players like Bret Nelson, Werner and Parsons have all seemed to go backwards. And so far both Boyton and Walker seem to be going backwards. Let’s hope all 3 can turn it around soon!

  9. I don’t get why everyone is blaming Florida. Did anyone think maybe UCF just made UF look bad? UCF has a great defense, and although missed 14 straight shots, they were able to keep UF from scoring when they had chances to. How about we give UCF credit where credit is due. This is why I hate gator fans cause instead of just accepting that they got beat by a better team they always try to blame it on something within the program instead.

    UCF outplayed UF. end of story.

  10. We look pretty bad all years in three areas 1) perimeter defense (they rained three points on use at wide open shots), 2) our point guards got worse (Walker played out of control most of the time and lost his cool — I love the kid, but he tried too hard, he needs to slow down a little to see the floor better), 3) Our perimeter shots still are not too good. We are not shooting well at all. 4) Our big are very lazy compared to all the one we had in the past (Haslem, Lee, Horford, Noah, Richards, even Speight) are all working hard to get the ball and why all of them are successful in the NBA. All FLA power forwards and center have been the best in the nation because they worked hard every games. I think our freshman Young is going to be a great one too — he is the beast! I love Tyus as a kid, but he does not come to play hard every games. So some other gators now. They are not working hard every play and every game. I think the coach needs to play all new kids more. I think Murphy is our best and consistent hard worker right now. Yeguette is next to him — the kid needs to score more and attack the basket, but he played hard. I like Wilberkin a whole lot, he needs to shoot 1000 shots a day to really get an additional thread from the outside. He can run the offense better than walker.

  11. Tyus is so talent, but does not play like it every game. I do not see him in the NBA. Macklin can be dominant if he bring his game to both half in the OH st game. He is the lone man playing hard in the UCF game. Parson got to take control and stop being passive. He is my best player for our team. He is still not take over the leadership role he needed to do to be successful. Man.. they needs to come together and play as a team. Passing the ball more and drive the hoop. We are not perimeter shooting team.

    I still love my Gators for life no matter what. We have to get back soon..

  12. Billy is our best coach ever! He puts us on the map. I hope Billy is recruiting taller guard in the future. Somehow, we ended up with smaller point guards over the last several years — Toreen (5′ 10, Lucus – 5’10, Walker – 5’7. They have a tough time defending the three’s.

    Love my Gators.

  13. Boynton takes several ill-advised 3s every game. Tyus taking one 3 every 3 or 4 games certainly is not the problem with the Gators basketball team. Tyus’ Rebound were up last season as well and his blocked shots. His point per game was down only .7 of a point. How than has his production gotten progressively worse since his sophomore year?