Florida basketball failed to make the NCAA Tournament last year in Todd Golden’s first season as Gators’ head coach and got bounced from the NIT against UCF.
But Golden and the Gators woke up after that loss and decided to get to work. Florida brought in one of the best transfer classes in the country, and bring back one of the top players in the SEC.
Despite all of this positive offseason momentum (which I know means nothing during the season) the Gators were picked to finish 8th in the SEC’s preseason media poll.
Sure, nobody expects them to be near the top of the conference. But are the Gators being undervalued by the media?
Florida basketball: A clean slate
The Mike White years at Florida scarred a lot of the Gators’ fanbase. Slow offense, losses to bad teams, all of that.
Some elements of that were still around last season in Golden’s debut and are likely reasons why people aren’t super high on the Gators this winter.
But this is a brand new Florida team with guys that fit Golden’s system a lot better.
They have an entirely remade backcourt with Walter Clayton Jr, a transfer from Iona, at PG, and Zyon Pullin from UC Riverside at shooting guard.
Riley Kugel, who was given preseason 2nd-team SEC honors, is back and will likely be the Gators’ best overall player.
To replace Colin Castleton, Golden brought in Micah Handlogten, a seven-footer from Marshall who was the Sun Belt freshman of the year last season.
At the four, Tyrese Samuel will get the nod after EJ Jarvis announced his retirement from basketball. Samuel brings a physical, defensive presence that will help anchor Florida.
So if you ask me, the Gators are being a little undervalued early on by the media.
But nothing really matters until the ball is tipped and we see these teams in action. But this season has the chance to be the best in recent memory down in Gainesville.