The two-time defending national champs are unlikely to go dancing this year.
Florida's streak of 9 straight NCAA tournament wins is likely to come to an ignomious end after losing to Kentucky in legendary Rupp Arena. Like so many of the Gators' losses this year, Florida got off to a great start with a big lead, only to allow Kentucky to come roaring back and take a lead of their own. The Gators made it interesting in the final moments but in the end it was Kentucky 75, Florida 70.
With that loss Florida is 8-8 in conference play and 21-10 overall. It's hard to get in the tourney without a winning conference record, but sometimes what happens in the out-of-conference schedule can make the difference... not in this case. Florida owns no quality road wins, no quality neutral site wins, and played a cupcake-heavy schedule in the preseason.
Florida's best wins came over Kentucky and Vanderbilt. They had numerous opportunities which slipped away in the final seconds, including close losses to Vanderbilt the second time the two teams played, and a heartbreaking ly close loss to Tennessee in the O'Dome earlier in the week. Close losses though they may be, they're still losses.
Florida is now off the bubble. Their only opportunity to return to the NCAAs is to make an appearance in the finals of the SEC Tournament. It's quite a blow to Gator fans, who are accustomed to their teams competing for all the marbles.