Florida coach Todd Golden All year he said his team was still looking for the best way to play basketball, and on Wednesday night everything clicked during a 13-point upset win over No. 2 Tennessee.
The Gators showed flashes of brilliance against lesser opponents earlier in the season, but the team did not fare as well against Quadrant 1 and 2 opponents. Going into the Tennessee State game, Florida had just two wins over first-quarter and second-quarter opponents in 11 opportunities. closing losses for Auburnand Florida Atlantic Texas A&M (twice) a killer appeal, but now the team has finally made good on Golden’s word.
“Obviously this team has seen a lot of ups and downs in terms of results in matches,” Golden said during his post-match press conference. “I felt so strong, and I spoke to you guys about the fact that I feel like we’re better than our record indicates, even through some of these stretches. I’m so proud of our guys that they put in such an effort together for 40 minutes.”
The first-year coach has never lost his team’s winning streak. After winning five out of six games in January, Florida’s loss to No. 5 Kansas State diminished their fan base. The win over Tennessee reinvigorated the fans and erased any memory Keyontae Johnson hanging on the edge.
The Volunteers had a strong case for a top seed in the NCAA Tournament, but now Florida has put it up Alabama In the driver’s seat for the Southeastern Conference.
“They’re at the top of the game right now and they’re No. 2,” he said. “Obviously, that part in the second half where they lead us, I think they took a six-point lead. It was just the grit that our guys showed and the ability to bounce back from that was amazing. Just a lot of great all-around efforts to beat a team like that by 13 points.”
As Golden alluded to, the victory was by no means a massive win. Florida started with a 17-4 record, but Tennessee came back like a top-five team in the country against an unranked opponent. Never deterred, Golden told his team to play with an “F-it” mentality and they did. The Gators simply proved their defense was good enough to allow a run like that and still recovered in time for a double digit win.
He said, “Stay on the track.” “We went through a tough little stretch there. Some things just didn’t go our way. That was a great moment for us because, just in retrospect, we couldn’t finish this level, and we did a great job having (Santiago) Viscovi take those three free throws to put them in.” Six of just reclaiming that progress and never giving it up.”
Golden said he didn’t feel comfortable until 30 seconds into the game. After failing to finish winning so many times before, it wasn’t realistic that the team was finally doing so against the number two team in the country.
“I think it’s confirmation that we can beat anyone when we play to our ability,” he said. “Obviously we played well tonight. It would be a high standard to make us stick to it every night, but we’ve now shown the ability to do that. And I think that belief comes from this understanding that it’s no longer possible. Tonight, we proved we can beat a top team.” in the country “.
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