College Basketball Nation: Gators-Bulldogs 022710

If Florida misses the NCAA tournament for the third season in a row, the Gators can once again blame nobody but themselves.

Four days after upsetting Tennessee at home, the Gators lost to Georgia 78-76 at Stegeman Coliseum on Saturday. With an RPI rating of No. 45, it was a defeat the Gators really couldn't afford this late in the season.

To receive an NCAA at-large bid, the Gators might now have to win at least one of their last two regular-season games -- home against Vanderbilt on Tuesday or at Kentucky on March 7 -- and win at least a couple of games in the SEC tournament in Nashville.

Florida fought back from a 15-point deficit in the second half and had a chance to tie the game or take the lead at the end. After Georgia turned the ball over on a shot-clock violation in the final seconds, the Gators never got off a shot, either.

Chandler Parsons passed the ball to Dan Werner, who was wide-open behind the 3-point line. But instead of taking the shot, Werner tried to pass the ball to Vernon Macklin, who was under the basket. Georgia's Albert Jackson batted Werner's pass into the stands, giving Florida the ball back with only one-tenth of a second to go.
ATHENS, Ga. -- Florida and Georgia just tipped off at Stegeman Coliseum, and if the Gators looked a little tight early, here's why: they can't lose.

Florida's first three shots didn't even hit the rim (one was blocked and two were air balls), before Chandler Parsons made a 3-pointer to give the Gators an early 3-2 lead.

With games left against SEC East heavyweights Vanderbilt and Kentucky, the Gators have absolutely no room for error against the Bulldogs. Georgia struggled in coach Mark Fox's first season, but the Dogs have been tough to beat at home. UGA already upset Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech in Stegeman Coliseum.

While it won't have the buildup of these schools' annual football game in Jacksonville, Fla., it will have an impact on Florida's chances for an NCAA at-large bid.

Florida comes into the game with an RPI rating of No. 45. The Gators already won 20 games, but they're only 1-6 against RPI top-25 foes and 3-6 against the top 50. UF's 75-62 upset of Tennessee on Tuesday night gave it some breathing room. But a loss at Georgia would put the Gators right back on the NCAA bubble.