2012 SEC Tournament - Florida Gators (4) at Kentucky Wildcats (1): Semifinal Open Game Thread

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Welcome, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, to the open game thread for the Florida Gators at Kentucky Wildcats 2012 SEC Tournament semifinal game. Details as follows, courtesy of UKAthletics.com:

Finals
Kentucky vs. Florida
Sat., Mar. 10, 1 p.m. ET
Game Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader | UF Get Acrobat Reader
TV: ABC
Radio: UK IMG
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Florida finally broke their 3-game losing streak against the Alabama Crimson Tide yesterday in a hard-fought contest that the Gators barely escaped by making their free throws at the end of the game. Florida will try on the #1 ranked Wildcats for the third time this season, hoping for their first victory.


Related: Alligator Army, SB Nation's Florida Gators blog.

The Wildcats are coming off arguably their worst performance of the season. 18 turnovers and a really strange vibe from Kentucky, mostly caused by an outstanding effort from the LSU Tigers really tested Kentucky's resolve yesterday. Kentucky emerged victorious primarily due to outstanding work by Terrence Jones, Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

Here are the requirements for Kentucky to win against the Gators today:

  • Keep Florida out of transition. Transition is where the Gators can get open looks from three, and they make them.
  • Defend the three like the game depends on it, because it does. If Kentucky allows Florida to hoist up open looks from the perimeter, it will be on like Donkey Kong.
  • Play the game the right way. Yesterday, Kentucky did not respond to the physical challenge from LSU. Today, they must, because Florida will do what they can to emulate what worked for the Tigers in the half court.
  • Intensity. Except for Jones and MKG, the Wildcats totally lacked the kind of intensity they have consistently brought to games this year.

I know we are all looking forward to a better game out of Kentucky, but don't forget that this Gator team is capable of putting up huge offensive numbers if they get open shots from outside. Kentucky has done a great job in the last two meetings of forcing the Gators into the half court and making them put it on the floor. But Billy Donovan now knows at least two ways that don't work, and he's no doubt going to try to gameplan something that does. Never discount a team who's coach has two NCAA Tournament titles.

Go, 'Cats!

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