Mike White

Men’s basketball coach Mike White and the Gators are in the middle of one of the worst offensive seasons in the past 20 years. They are averaging 68.7 points a game, the second lowest in that span.

 

The Gators men’s basketball team has been in a rut all season.

They couldn’t make a shot if the officials made the rim bigger. They get outrebounded nearly every game. They just don’t have enough developed talent to be competitive in the SEC.

It has been a bad season, the worst since coach Mike White took over four years ago. Florida’s offensive woes are starting to catch up, and its fanbase is losing hope for the season.

But is it UF’s worst offense since the turn of the century?

In our first edition of alligatorSports “By The Numbers,” we look into whether this is an accurate statement or not, all based on pure stats and analysis.

Question: Is this Florida basketball’s worst offense in the past 20 seasons?

It’s hard to believe it isn’t. Especially the way this season has gone.

The Gators are averaging 68.7 points per game, which is the second worst in the SEC ahead of only Missouri (68.0). They are turning the ball over nearly 12 times a game, and they aren’t creating nearly enough assists to make up for it (13.1 per game).

Mix those stats with a low 42.1 percent shooting average from the field and a sub-par 34.7 three-point shooting percentage, and it’s clear to see why Florida is struggling this season. It currently sits at a 12-10 record midway through conference play. Not an ideal season for a team coming off an NCAA Tournament appearance.

Answer: No, it’s not the worst. But it’s close, very close.

This season has made a lot of fans forget just how bad the Gators were in 2014-15, Billy Donovan’s last season at the helm before leaving to coach the Oklahoma City Thunder.

They couldn’t do anything well that year. UF averaged 63.7 points per game, shot just over 32 percent from beyond the arc and shot 63.5 percent from the charity stripe. All worse than this season’s numbers.

The 2014-15 team also turned the ball over more (12.4 per game) and grabbed less offensive rebounds (10.5 per game).

That team went 16-17 and missed the postseason for the first time since 1997-98, the second season under Donovan.

If we had to point to any offensive campaign as the worst in the past two decades, it would clearly be this one.

But Florida is flirting with the wrong side of history this season. That seems to be because it isn’t adapting as college basketball continues to evolve.

UF’s average scoring has been on the decline since the 1999-2000 season, when it averaged 83.8 points per game. Not even the back-to-back championship years from 2006-07 could match that. They only averaged 79 points per game during that two-year span.

Now those numbers are inching closer to the upper 60’s. Some of that can be attributed to the increase in the amount of threes Florida takes. Last season saw it take 832 threes, the most since it attempted 939 in 2011-12.

Another reason for the decline could be the lack of assists. The Gators have been hovering around just over 13 assists per game for most of the past five seasons. During the championship years, they were averaging 16 per game.

Conclusion: This is not UF’s worst offense in the past 20 seasons.

The only category this Florida team is the worst in is its 42.1 field goal percentage.

Everything else is either lower-middle-of-the-pack or relatively close to the bottom.

The Gators are in their worst season under White, but at least it’s not the worst in the past two decades.

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Follow Jake Dreilinger on Twitter @DreilingerJake and contact him at [email protected].

Jake Dreilinger is the assistant sports editor of the Alligator and covers the Florida Gators football team. He has previously covered men's basketball, baseball and softball. He has worked at the paper since Fall 2015.