Feb 26, 2013, 11:54 PM EDT
Florida went into Tuesday night’s game at Tennessee with just six healthy rotation players, a Will Yeguete is battling a knee injury and Michael Frazier out with a concussion.
They left with just five, as Casey Prather took a shot to the head that looked like it left him woozy and opened up a faucet of a cut over his left eye.
And Tennessee — a physical, veteran team that always plays well against Florida and is currently playing their best basketball of the season — came in desperate, playing for their NCAA tournament lives.
All of that played a significant role in Tennessee’s 64-58 win over No. 8 Florida, as did Jordan McRae’s performance — 27 points, seven boards, four assists, two steals and two blocks — and Jarnell Stokes’ physicality — 14 boards.
But all of that also belabors a larger point: Florida is still winless in close games.
Florida has played four close games this season, all of which came on the road, and lost all four of them.
– They blew a six-point lead in the final minutes at Arizona, losing 65-64.
– They lost a 67-61 dogfight to Kansas State in Kansas City two games later.
– They lost at Missouri last Tuesday, 63-60, after blowing a 13-point second half lead.
– And they lost at Tennessee on Tuesday, in a game where Florida’s execution down the stretch left much to be desired.
Should I mention the 11 point lead that Florida blew against Louisville in the Elite 8 last year?
That’s a trend. A problematic one, at that. And now it’s essentially cost the Gators a shot at getting a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
At this point, it’s fair for us to start asking whether or not this Florida team is truly a national title contender, isn’t it? Unless you consider beating Missouri (without Laurence Bowers), Ole Miss or Kentucky (in the game that Nerlens Noel got injured) in Gainesville a quality win, the Gators have really done nothing of note since beating Marquette by 33 points (again, in Gainesville) back in late November.
Florida fattened up on mediocre SEC opponents, but do they know how to compete and win in close games against quality competition?
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.
Mar 26, 2015, 9:59 PM EDT
After Dekker scored 15 points in the first half, Kaminksy scored 15 in the second half for the Badgers.
Mar 26, 2015, 9:24 PM EDT
It’s Notre Dame’s first Elite 8 since 1979.
Mar 26, 2015, 7:30 PM EDT
New Mexico is losing a wing.
Mar 26, 2015, 6:20 PM EDT
Dukes averaged 2.1 points in 7.2 minutes of action per game.
Mar 26, 2015, 5:35 PM EDT
Josh Jackson, the No. 1 player in the Class of 2016, is down to nine schools.
Mar 26, 2015, 4:24 PM EDT
Adam Smith averaged a team-high 13.4 points per game as a redshirt junior.
Mar 26, 2015, 3:13 PM EDT
This is a strong stance from the NCAA.
Mar 26, 2015, 1:53 PM EDT
Dean Smith was unique, that is for sure.
Mar 26, 2015, 1:25 PM EDT
Here is the schedule for the Sweet 16
Mar 26, 2015, 1:16 PM EDT
Will Tyndall be able to survive the investigation?
Mar 26, 2015, 12:53 PM EDT
Archie Miller is one of the hottest names in coaching, and Dayton is trying to keep him around as long as possible.
Mar 26, 2015, 12:10 PM EDT
Xavier’s reached the Sweet 16 in five of the last eight seasons, but is there a point where that won’t be good enough?
Mar 26, 2015, 11:52 AM EDT
Frazier is projected as a second round pick.
Mar 26, 2015, 11:37 AM EDT
Did they really call Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless college basketball experts?
Mar 26, 2015, 11:01 AM EDT
Ross has led Delaware to the best stretch in program history.
Mar 26, 2015, 9:43 AM EDT
Lie Witness News is always a classic.
Mar 25, 2015, 9:31 PM EDT
Freeman’s shot came just a couple seconds after Murray State’s Jarvis Moss tied things up at 69 apiece.
Mar 25, 2015, 8:50 PM EDT
In his attempt to challenge an NCAA stenographer in Los Angeles, Hayes didn’t realize that the mics pick up everything.
Mar 25, 2015, 8:05 PM EDT
Meeks’ status for Thursday will be determined by whether or not he experiences any pain or swelling after going through a workout Wednesday morning.
Mar 25, 2015, 7:06 PM EDT
Traevon Jackson hasn’t played since late January, and how much he’ll be able to play against No. 4 North Carolina remains to be seen.
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