He isn't perfect but Todd Golden is an upgrade from Mike White for Florida Basketball

Florida can actually score the basketball, something it wasn't able to do for years

Feb 17, 2024; Athens, Georgia, USA; Florida Gators head coach Todd Golden reacts during the game
Feb 17, 2024; Athens, Georgia, USA; Florida Gators head coach Todd Golden reacts during the game / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The departure of Mike White from Florida Basketball to Georgia following the 2022 season might have been one of the rare moments in sports where both sides thought they had won. Gator fans were ready for literally anything different while Bulldogs fans were hoping to be half relevant in basketball finally.

What Florida got in return was a plucky young coach that is far from perfect, but is also making the Gators watchable in a way his predecessor never did.

Florida Basketball: Scoring Is Fun

When Todd Golden came over to Gainesville from San Francisco, fans were hoping to see some of the three-point shooting ability that made USF West a tournament team.

That didn't quite happen last season, and when Colin Castleton went down for the season, the Gators were doomed to the same place that White had left them: an NIT bid.

Following its drubbing to Tennessee to being SEC play 1-3 this season, it was fair to wonder if Scott Stricklin had botched this hire and would be going back to the drawing board soon.

But since that loss, Florida has been able to right the ship and win seven of its last eight to move to fifth place in the SEC, tied on losses with Auburn and South Carolina for a top four seeding and a double bye in the SEC Tournament.

Don't get it twisted; there has been angst along the way, even in this losing streak. Blown leads to Georgia, LSU, and Texas A&M have led to questions about Florida's ability to close out games.

But if one thinks Florida needed to stay the course, look no further than Saturday's game against Georgia.

Now, as Simba once said, going back means I'll have to face my past when in Athens. And that past couldn't have been more black and white as to what Florida Basketball was and what it is striving to become.

In White's final season with the Gators, Florida was 131st in offensive efficiency. His Georgia squad is currently 165th this season. Thus when Florida fell behind by nine early to Georgia, there was no need to panic because every Gator fan knew that offensive production wasn't sustainable.

Meanwhile, the Gators are 24th this season in offensive efficiency, and while defensive efficiency is a problem at times, most fans would rather witness a team that can score vs. a team that hopes to dribble out the shot clock every possession.

Golden is now 4-0 against White since arriving in Gainesville. The Portal God has quickly turned the Gators into an exciting brand of basketball that doesn't feel like a chore to watch.

In time, there will need to be wins to follow the stylistic change. But there is real hope and promise the Gators could be a Sweet 16 and beyond squad in 2024. Something we haven't been able to say for a while.