Welp, there isn't much to say about Auburn's 83-52 home loss to No.6/7 Florida Saturday at Auburn Arena. The Gators are a really good team, and the Tigers aren't. Florida rarely missed, making 57.4 percent of their shots from the floor, and Auburn's offensive woes continues, as the Tigers shot at a 35.2 percent clip.
It's difficult to be all that upset about the loss to the Gators. Billy Donovan's team has rolled to 11 victories in 12 SEC games this season, compiling a 21-3 record overall. And Florida isn't just racking up wins against a bad conference. The Gators are fantastic on defense, hardly allowing opponents to get any open looks. On the offensive end, they're downright frightening. For long stretches, it looked like Florida couldn't miss against Auburn, and the Gators' three-point barrage was relentless. By the time the final horn had sounded, they had made 15-of-30 shots from the perimeter. Auburn, meanwhile, made just 4-of-16 from three. That disparity was the difference in the game.
Going into the game, everyone knew it was going to be a tall task for the Tigers to keep it close. Florida's only loss in SEC play came at Arkansas, and the Razorbacks were able to win because they shot well in the first half -- 53.3 percent -- while the Gators were struggling -- 29.2 percent. Considering the Gators rank sixth in the nation with a 49.7 field goal percentage, hoping they would have another poor shooting performance against the Tigers was probably foolish.
With that in mind, Auburn (9-16, 3-9 SEC) didn't really do a lot to help itself. Chris Denson and Jordan Price had nice games, scoring 13 and 12 points, respectively. They were able to cut to the basket for layups while the rest of the team had a hard time doing much of anything right. Rob Chubb was awful again, as he had and 0-of-4 night from the field, missing hook shot after hook shot. He added just two rebounds, one point from the free throw line, one assist and four turnovers. Frankie Sullivan's funk continued, too. Sullivan played just 19 minutes, and he scored eight points on 3-of-6 shooting with two assists, one rebound and three turnovers.
It was pretty clear from the beginning of the game that Florida was going to run away with it. As good as the Gators were on offense -- and they were great -- their defensive play as even more impressive. The amount of effort and intensity in both man-to-man and zone kept Auburn from getting anything easy. Seeing Florida's defensive prowess live made it easy to understand how the team ranks third in the nation in scoring D (52.6 points per game). The Gators were contesting nearly every shot, and their tight coverage led to 14 Auburn turnovers, which Florida turned into 18 points.
If Auburn had hoped to limit Florida's offense by shutting down one player, the Gators showed that was a foolish idea. Patric Young didn't bring much to the table -- two points, three rebounds -- but his teammates more than picked up the slack. Mike Rosario led all scorers with 22 points, and Michael Frazier connected on 6-of-7 shots from behind the arc to finish with 18 points. Kenny Boynton contributed 16, and Erik Murphy added 11. Florida simply had too many weapons playing at a high level for Auburn to stay in the game.
Before the season, some Auburn players proclaimed the Tigers would win 20 games in 2012-13. Obviously, that isn't going to happen, and instead, the potential for 20 losses is on the table. Auburn has 16 right now, and six games remain on the schedule. With home games against Texas A&M, Vanderbilt and Tennessee, and road games at Ole Miss, Alabama and Mississippi State, Auburn has to make some serious changes to finish 3-3 down the stretch and avoid a 20-loss season, for the second time in Tony Barbee's three-year tenure on the Plains. Considering the team has now lost nine out of its last 10, winning three of its final six seems unlikely.