DALLAS — It didn’t take long after Florida’s second-round NCAA Tournament loss to Texas Tech on Saturday night for the social media critics to come out in full force, venting about Gators coach Mike White.
That’s the way it goes this time of year, even for a third-year coach with a 4-2 NCAA Tournament record and an Elite Eight appearance on his Florida résumé.
Gators athletic director Scott Stricklin wasn’t having it, though. Stricklin maintains an active Twitter presence and wasted no time Saturday night answering back at the critics.
— Scott Stricklin (@ScottStricklin) March 18, 2018
The comment he was responding to has since been deleted.
After missing the NCAA Tournament in his first season at Florida, White guided the Gators to the Elite Eight and 27 wins last year while receiving SEC Coach of the Year honors.
This season was more of a roller-coaster. The Gators surged to a No. 5 national ranking in the opening weeks before hitting a rocky path the rest of the way. They lost six of eight conference games during one stretch and were on the NCAA Tournament bubble before closing the regular season with three straight impressive wins over Auburn, Alabama and Kentucky.
Then came another setback, an ugly loss to Arkansas in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals.
The Gators responded with a 77-62 win over St. Bonaventure to open the NCAA Tournament before losing 69-66 to Texas Tech on Saturday night, missing two potentially game-tying 3-pointers in the final seconds.
Florida finished 21-13 and will have some major holes to fill heading into next season after losing senior point guard Chris Chiozza, the program’s all-time assists leader, and senior guard Egor Koulechov, the team’s second-leading scorer this season. Junior guard Jalen Hudson, who led the Gators in scoring at 15.5 points per game, hasn’t announced yet whether he’ll return or turn pro.