From Thomas Goldkamp this morning:
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- As Florida continues to search for answers on the hardwood, the numbers tell some cold truths about the ongoing Mike White era in town.
White arrived hoping to bring the kind of up-and-down-the-floor tempo he ran at Louisiana Tech into the SEC. At various points the Gators have flashed that, but a high-tempo team hasn't really been the makeup of late.
Instead, Florida's been a team that simply lives and dies by the 3-pointer. When those looks come in the flow of the game -- the quicker the better in transition, usually -- the Gators tend to do all right.
Once the game settles into halfcourt offense, though, Florida seems to struggle. Its 3-point attempts come late out of necessity rather than through good offensive sets. In no season has that been as clear as this one.
Since the adoption of the 3-point line in the college game back in 1986, no Florida team has attempted a higher percentage of its overall field goal attempts from beyond the arc. Through 16 games this season Florida has hoisted a whopping 44.9 percent of its attempts from downtown. It's only connecting on 34.2 percent of them, the seventh-worst percentage of any team in school history during the 3-point era.
And while this year's team is attempting the largest percentage of 3-pointers of any White squad, all four of his teams have favored the 3-point shot similarly.
White's teams live and die by the 3-pointer. It's been far too much die, of late. Some of it is simply due to the nature of White's squads. He's had some excruciatingly bad luck when it comes to big men.
Ever since veteran center John Egbunu suffered a torn ACL on Feb. 14, 2017, White hasn't seemed to be able to keep a big man healthy. Center Gorjok Gak has battled knee injuries over the last two years; he has yet to appear in a game this year. Freshman Isaiah Stokes redshirted while recovering from a torn ACL a year ago and has seen very limited minutes due to conditioning issues. Forward Chase Johnson just transferred away after repeated concussions and other medical issues.
With no real inside-out game, White's teams have had to rely on the 3-point line.
Unfortunately, strong results have not really followed. Last year's team was his best from beyond the arc, making 37 percent. This year's squad is shooting just that pestering 34.2 percent.
Moreover, Florida hasn't really converted well from inside the arc, either. White's squads are responsible for three of the four worst overall shooting percentages in the 3-point era, joining only the 1995-96 team (a team that Lon Kruger won just 12 games with just before the Billy Donovan era began) at or below 43.2 percent from the floor.
This year's team is currently shooting at a 42.6 percent clip from the floor, matching the worst in the 3-point era at Florida (tied with White's 2015-16 team and that 1995-96 Kruger squad).
The bottom line is that White's team simply isn't cut out to win games by shooting such a high volume from 3-point range. The numbers from the first 16 games bear that out.
Maybe the Gators aren't suited to win by focusing on scoring more inside, either. But if that's the case, White's got bigger problems than his players simply missing shots.
It's time to adjust. Florida can't keep taking so many shots from 3-point range and hoping for the best. Time and time again the Gators keep coming up empty trying that strategy. And the numbers really don't lie.
"Obviously we're not the best finishing team. We're not shooting the ball with a lot of confidence," White said after the team's 71-68 loss at Mississippi State on Tuesday night. "We moved it, we shared it, we executed well and we got a bunch of open looks. We've got to make more of them."
Or find different looks.