This season the Florida Gators have been the class of the SEC. Granted, the conference is having a down year, but the Gators have dominated the league up to this point as nine of their 10 conference wins have come by double figures.
Heading into their biggest game of the season tonight against Kentucky, there’s been questions about Florida’s legitimacy as a national contender, especially after their lopsided loss at Arkansas. But the Gators will prove that they are not only the best team in the SEC but one of the best teams in the country with a win over the Wildcats.
Kentucky is finally starting to get their act together after a very rough start to their season. They have won seven of their last eight games and five straight against the Gators including three wins a season ago. However, that won’t factor into this year’s matchup because both of these teams are nothing like they were last season. The Wildcats lost a boatload of talent to the NBA Draft, and although they restocked with marquee freshmen, they have struggled a bit to gain some cohesion as a group.
As for Florida, they returned the majority of their talent from their Elite Eight team a season ago and they are practically unbeatable at home. So far this year, they are undefeated at the O’Connell Center with an 11-0 mark while averaging 79 points per game during SEC play.
Guard play has been the key for the Gators this year and they are at their best when Scottie Wilbekin and Kenny Boynton spread the floor and open up shots for others. Florida has the advantage at the guard position, but Kentucky has the distinct advantage in the paint with Nerlens Noel, Alex Poythress, Kyle Wiltjer and Willie Cauley-Stein. On top of their inherited advantage due to their size, Florida’s best interior defender Will Yeguete is lost for the the rest of the year.
If this game was being played in Kentucky, it might be a different story, but at least for tonight Florida should have a convincing win over the defending conference and national champions.