Gators Lose to Missouri After Impressive Victories
ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has predicted in his more recent mock-up bracket that the number five ranked Florida Gators will be the #1 seed in the south region. Florida has certainly played like a top team all season with the exception to that small bump in the road in Fayetteville, and the end of the game last night in Missouri.
Last week during college basketball’s rivalry week, the Gators embarrassed hated rival Kentucky in front of the Rowdy Reptiles. Florida scored early and often and never took their foot off the gas while wiping the floor with the Cats, destroying them 69-52. Casey Prather did a terrific job stepping in for the injured Will Yeguete, and big man Patrick Young literally muscled his way around the Wildcats the entire night. Young recorded a double double by scoring 12 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. He also blocked 4 shots.
Florida was not done making SEC rivals look silly. Last Saturday at Auburn, the Gators humiliated the Tigers by dismantling them 83-52. Freshman guard Michael Frazier came off the bench and knocked down six of the Gators 15 three point scores Saturday afternoon.
The Gators traveled last night to Missouri to play a team they destroyed by 31 points at home earlier in the season. Although Missouri is not ranked, they have a decent RPI, are undefeated at home, and beating them again would almost assure a #1 seed in the tournament come March as long as things continued. Unfortunately, the Gators allowed a double-digit second half lead to slip away in the closing minutes of the game. Much like the Arizona game months ago, the Gators again proved they don't have what it takes to close out a close game. Clanging threes, missed free-throws, and the lack of a post game created an opporunity that the Tigers and a fired-up and sold-out crowd in Mizzou Arena just couldn't pass up.
The Tigers won the game 63-60, putting the Gators only 1.5 games ahead of Alabama in the Southeastern Conference race. Their chance for redemption comes on Saturday against the only other team in the SEC that has defeated them, the Arkansas Razorbacks, at 7pm in the O'Dome.