We thought we had seen the last of the No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats, but a third matchup was destiny of sorts. If you describe destiny as facing a team you haven’t been able to crack in two meetings already this season. On Saturday, the No. 19/22 Florida Gators face the nation’s top team for a third time and a place in the SEC Championship Game.
Opponent: Kentucky Wildcats
When: Sat., March 10, 2012 – 1:00 PM
Where: New Orleans, LA
Records: Florida: 23-9 (11-6 SEC), Kentucky: 31-1 (17-0 SEC)
Rankings: Florida: 19/22, Kentucky: 1
Current Streak: Florida: W1, Kentucky: W23
Point Spread: Kentucky -8.5
Point Scored: Florida: 76.4, Kentucky: 77.2
Points Allowed: Florida: 65.8, Kentucky: 58.3
Last Meeting: Kentucky 74-59 (March 4, 2012)
I enjoy weekend games played earlier in the day. The anticipation of a night game weighs on me throughout the day to the point that I just wish it were over with already. But a day game is ready to go as soon as you are. Wake up, putter around, watch the game, end the day in joy or misery, but at least you know which and can act accordingly.
So here we are again. On the other end of the court, Kentucky. Say what you want about John Calipari, but the man does something right. Some will argue that with that kind of talent anyone can win, but that’s not really true. Calipari is reinventing the wheel year after year with a new roster and different key contributors and yet here are the Wildcats at No. 1 and labeled the favorite to win both the SEC Championship and the NCAA Championship. But that doesn’t mean we won’t cheer for our boys.
Sure we’re nervous. Sure some of us may even wish this one were over before it even begins. But we’re still fans with hope. Among the things we hope for is a Patric Young performance reminiscent of the one he had the last time Florida played Kentucky. We’d also like to see even moderately acceptable shooting come back from the guards. And then there’s that defense thing. On the season, the Gators allow 65.8 points per game. They allowed 78 and 74 to Kentucky in the two losses. Those numbers actually might not be awful if Florida had come close to scoring it’s average of 76.4, but instead the Gators managed 58 and 59.
We could go into every aspect of each of those defeats in detail or further discuss just how good this Kentucky team is, but there’s really no point. You know, you watched those games, you were “there.” What we can do is focus on those three things – Young, shooting percentage, defense. Those three things can keep the Gators in the game. Neither team necessarily needs this win (they’ve both punched their tickets to the Big Dance), but a Florida upset would impact seeding and may just do enough to deflate a little bit from Kentucky’s championship balloon.
Before or after the game, let us know where you think the Gators will be seeded in the NCAA Tournament. The poll is located in the bar to the right. Scroll down and you’ll find it.