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Gators slip a spot in ESPN’s Basketball Power Index after Kentucky loss

It was a nail-biter in the O’Connell Center on Saturday afternoon in the Southeastern Conference opener, but unfortunately for fans of the Orange and Blue, the home team came up short in a game that it controlled for most of the way.

The Florida Gators were unable to keep up with the No. 6 Kentucky Wildcats in the final minutes despite taking an eight-point lead into the locker room at halftime, coming up just two points short in the 87-85 defeat. That loss gives Todd Golden’s squad a 10-4 record overall and a 0-1 mark in SEC play early on.

The matchup was a Quadrant 1 affair for both teams, which softened the blow for Florida a bit in the objective rankings. According to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, the Gators slipped just one spot to No. 29 on Sunday following the game as well as our previous update.

Florida’s BPI rating — a measurement of a team’s true strength moving forward — slipped a tenth of a point to 9.8. The offensive BPI slipped three-tenths to 6.2 and the defense got a two-tenths bump up to 3.6.

The win-loss projection fell to 19.7-11.3, with a lowered 9.7-8.3 prediction for the conference schedule. ESPN now gives Florida a much-reduced 1.1% chance to win the Southeastern Conference while the remaining strength of schedule ranked No. 40.

The Gators will travel for their first road game of the 2024 portion of the schedule with a matchup against the Ole Miss Rebels on Wednesday, Jan. 10, in Oxford, Mississippi. Tipoff is slated for a late 9 p.m. ET start and the game will be broadcast on the SEC Network.

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Story originally appeared on Gators Wire