Same song, ninth chorus.
This time, Florida lost by putting Mississippi's Jarvis Summers on the free throw line with 3.5 seconds left; Summers, who led the nation's best free throw-shooting team with 16 points on the night, earned his final two to put the Rebels up 72-71. And when Kasey Hill couldn't get a shot off on the subsequent Florida possession, that became the final margin.
This time, Florida wasted a 27-point outing from Michael Frazier II, who sank a season-high six threes en route to it, and 15 points from Dorian Finney-Smith, and 12 threes on 20 attempts from distance, and a fine night of defense against Stefan Moody, who had five 20-point nights on the season and six points against the Gators.
But like always, good-but-not-great defense and decent-but-not-great offense and poor foul shooting — and the wrong things coming at the wrong time — left these Gators on the losing end of a game they could ill afford to lose, considering the NCAA Tournament ramifications.
This outfit isn't that far from the teams that Florida fielded in 2010-11 and 2011-12 — the last Florida team to lose three straight games, like this one did — and 2012-13, except for the facts that this team has lost more games and in more excruciating fashion, both of which have made this one of the most exasperating seasons in recent Gators history. On nights when someone is brilliant — Frazier's 27 points came on 11 shots, and he added five rebounds and three assists, while also not committing a turnover — the lack of brilliance by someone else holds the Gators back; the cast of characters and the roles change, but the plot never seems to vary very much.
And this team has no non-conference pelts to fall back on, and less time to right the ship than Florida teams of the past did, so the same old song has a different meaning than it had before.
If the Gators don't change their tune quickly, and for good, their Selection Sunday will have a different soundtrack than they've grown accustomed to: Silence.