Florida has been downright dominant at times this year, but against good teams on the road the Gators seem to be a different team – a much more beatable one.
The Gators' latest stumble away from home was predictable Tuesday because it happened at Tennessee where Florida has struggled mightily in recent years regardless of how good or bad either program has been. Florida lost in Knoxville for the seventh time in its past eight trips falling 64-58 to the surging Vols.
The loss will undoubtedly knock the Gators out of a possible No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. It also might lead some to take a second look and question whether the Gators are as strong as they have looked at times. Could it be the Southeastern Conference is just so weak this season that the Gators have been made to look better than they are?
It should be noted that the Gators were shorthanded against the Vols. They didn't have two of their top eight players. Michael Frazier II missed the game with a concussion and Will Yeguete continues to recover from surgery on his right knee. Both could play as soon as Saturday.
Even at full strength Florida has struggled to win on the road against good programs this season, unless you go all the way back to the first road game of its season Dec. 5 at Florida State. They certainly aren't unique in that regard. A lot of good teams in college basketball have the same problem, but the elite teams, the top seeds in March Madness, generally can boast of beating a good team or two on the road.
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Florida has only lost five games all season but all five of its losses have come when the Gators have gone on the road to face a quality opponent, or in the case of Arkansas, a so-so opponent. The Gators lost at Arizona and Kansas State back in December and have lost three times this month on the road in SEC to Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee.
Florida has three games left in the regular season and it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Gators finish with three victories. However, one of those games is at home against an Alabama team desperately trying to provide a reason to be included in March Madness and the regular season finale is on the road at Kentucky, which still could get into the tournament.
Now that Florida has lost two of its last three, there is suddenly a little intrigue surrounding how they might finish up.
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