Florida Gators Men’s Basketball is NCAA’s Best Team with Losing Record


Saturday night’s road loss to Texas A&M wasn’t surprising, but the fact that this unheralded program has knocked the once mighty Florida Gators men’s basketball team down to a losing record shows that Billy Donovan’s team is indeed in freefall and may not even see the post-season.

But take heart Gator fans. The 2015 Florida Gator team is clearly the country’s best team with a losing record. And it’s not inconceivable that this team could not only still make the NCAA tournament, but also make some noise.

In one basketball poll, the Gators are not only still a tournament team, but ranked higher than several higher seeds in ESPN’s Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology tournament prognostication blog.

Despite the loss to the Aggies, the Kenpom poll has the Gators ranked 34th. The Gators, with a record of 12-13, are ranked ahead of Georgia’s 16- 8, Maryland’s 21-5 and Stanford’s 1 6-9. Lunardi has Maryland, ranked 19th in the AP Poll, as a 5th seed, Georgia an 8th seed and Stanford a 12th seed.

The Kenpom rankings, though not used in NCAA tournament selection, have shown some accuracy in predicting success in the NCAA tournament. Despite these rankings, the Gators poor record makes it unlikely for them to get an at-large bid to the NCAA at this point.

The most likely path to the NCAA tournament in March for the Florida Gators is to win the SEC Tournament, which is far from a stretch of the imagination. Sure, the Gators have lost to several of the top tournament teams. But that includes a string of one-point losses, including two to Ole Miss and Saturday’s loss to the Aggies.

The Gators beat the league’s second-best team, Arkansas, and their gritty 7 point loss to Kentucky, clearly the nation’s best team, shows that Florida is able to compete with any team in the country.

Florida Gators
Florida Gators /

Florida Gators

The Gators have six remaining games, including a road game at Kentucky and matchups with potential tournament teams in LSU, Tennessee and Texas A&M. If the Gators were to win them all, could they be an at-large bid. It’s unlikely, but who knows how the selection committee would view tournament a Gator team that caps a six game win streak by handing the powerful Wildcats their only loss of the season.

But if the Gator play like they did on Saturday night against Texas A&M, it’s hard to see how such a remarkable win streak could occur. The Aggies were able to control the Gators on the inside, who have lacked a powerful post presence all season.

As a team that relies on shooting, the Gators lost this road game with their best shooter sitting out, as Michael Frazier II was out of the game with an ankle injury.

Still, some players are starting to show their potential. Forward Chris Walker had 11 points and guard Eli Carter blew up for 22 points. But against the Aggies, freshman forward Devin Robinson was held scoreless, after going for 14 against Ole Miss earlier in the week.

The inconsistent play has been a hallmark of this year’s Florida Gators men’s basketball team, which is why the also-ran National Invitation Tournament is the most likely post-season plan. However, if the Gators don’t start finding wins, even the NIT may be out of reach this season.