March Madness — Florida Gators Suffer a Loss to Oral Roberts

By  //  March 26, 2021

March Madness? More like March Sadness for the Florida Gators, who suffered a loss to the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles in the second round of the legendary NCAA Tournament. 

The Cinderella story of this year’s March Madness continued when the Florida Gators faced 15-seeded Oral Roberts and lost.

Throughout the game, the Gators struggled to keep up with fast opponents and their fierce offence. Although the Gators were leading for the better part of the game and had up to 12 points difference, their offensive strategy fell apart towards the end of the meetup.

Despite having fantastic ball handlers, much like the ones found on this link, the Gators missed some great opportunities.

These moments of weakness showcased by the Florida team — especially at the end of the game — allowed Oral Roberts to become more composed. Thanks to a three from DeShang Weaver, the Golden Eagles gained an advantage.

At that point, the Florida Gators were thrown off their game to such an extent that they couldn’t even score in the last couple of minutes. Even though they had a few chances to send the game into overtime and take the lead, they failed to turn it in their favour.

Unfortunately for them, the round of 32 played in Indianapolis ended in a disappointing loss of 81–78, making Oral Roberts the second 15-seeder to ever make it into the Sweet 16!

The Gator’s coach, Mike White, will probably go over this game repeatedly, wondering what could have been different. However, it’s obvious his team simply made too many mistakes, some of which turned out to be fatal. As a result, they missed the chance of reaching the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2017 and are now erased from the NCAA 2021 bracket.

Based on the game recaps, we could tell that the Florida Gators weren’t playing to win. Their entire strategy was dull, and their turnovers posed a major problem. Namely, the Golden Eagles stole the ball 20 times, resulting in 23 points, which is unacceptable at this level.

But, there is more. Throughout the game, the UF committed 19 fouls, giving Oral Roberts 23 shots from the free-throw line. They managed to score 19. On the other hand, the Gators had just 9 free-throws.

Although the UF players had a strong performance, especially Tre Mann with 19 and Noah Locke with 17 points, for some reason, they slowed down towards the end.

They had a single-digit lead, which should have inspired them to keep up the rhythm and seal the victory. Instead, the Golden Eagles found a way to close the gap in the last minutes of the game by scoring those crucial points.

If the Gators had kept their focus and made fewer mistakes, they probably would have won. Unfortunately, instead, they will be going home thinking about all the errors that have cost them their entire season.