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Florida at Kentucky -- Open Game Thread

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This is the official Open Game Thread for Florida at Kentucky.


It's Senior Day at Kentucky, and in celebration of the last day of the regular season, we are going to do a few things different today here at A Sea of Blue.

First of all, I am combining an abbreviated version of our normal analysis post into the open thread, and the open thread will be going up early.  That's to get the conversation started.  Then, around 11:30, we will begin a pre-game liveblog section which will continue on through the game.  It should be fun, and it's time to get excited about finally stopping this ridiculous run that Florida has managed against us.

Personnel

What we'll do next is look at a comparison of the Florida Gators major personnel versus that of the Wildcats.  Thanks to Statsheet.com:


Florida Player Stats
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N. Calathes 30/30 33.1 15.9 42.9% 36.0% 73.4% 5.1 6.1 3 2.1 1.5 0.1
W. Hodge 30/30 30.7 10.5 48.4% 36.7% 77.1% 2.2 2.8 1.5 1.8 1.4 0
J. Lucas 30/30 30.6 8.7 47.7% 44.3% 73.3% 1.6 2.4 1.6 1.5 0.5 0
D. Werner 30/29 26.6 9.2 43.5% 30.6% 75.8% 6.6 2.4 1.8 1.3 1.2 0.3
M. Speights 30/30 24 14.2 62.0% 0.0% 68.2% 7.9 0.9 1.7 0.5 0.4 1.6
C. Parsons 30/0 20 8.1 46.6% 31.1% 67.6% 3.8 1.5 1 1.6 0.4 0.3
A. Tyus 30/0 12.8 4.5 57.3% 0.0% 54.8% 2.5 0.2 0.6 0.4 0.1 0.6
J. Mitchell 29/1 11.9 3.2 51.4% 38.7% 80.0% 1.8 0.7 0.7 1.1 0.2 0.3


Kentucky Player Stats
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R. Bradley 27/25 34.4 16 43.4% 39.1% 84.2% 4.4 3.3 3.3 1 1.7 0.2
J. Crawford 27/19 32.9 17.1 46.6% 35.6% 78.9% 3.6 2.2 2.8 0.8 0.6 0.2
P. Stevenson 28/1 23.2 5.4 55.2% 0.0% 76.1% 4.8 0.8 1.5 0.6 0.8 1.4
R. Harris 24/22 21.5 4 50.0% 30.4% 59.0% 3.5 1.2 1.9 0.6 0.8 0.5
D. Jasper 17/3 27.8 3.6 39.2% 44.4% 45.0% 5.5 2.3 2.1 1.1 0.6 0.8
M. Porter 22/9 15.8 2.2 31.3% 43.3% 83.3% 1.1 1.2 1.7 0.7 0.9 0
M. Coury 28/27 11.4 2.2 44.1% 0.0% 52.9% 1.9 0.7 0.7 0.9 0.4 0.4

Note:  Patrick Patterson is excluded because he won't be available.

Key matchups and notes:

  • Crawford vs. Calathes -- I think Ramon Harris will be guarding Calathes, but how these two guys perform will probably tell the tale about who wins.
  • Speights vs. Stevenson -- Perry must frustrate the bigger Speights with his quickness and athleticism.
  • Bradley vs. Hodge -- Two cagey veterans facing off again.  Who will come out ahead?
  • Derrick Jasper is a huge matchup problem for Florida.  They simply have nobody who can guard him.  He is also a defensive problem for the Gators, as he is much too long and athletic for Werner.

Points to note:

  1. Florida has the 14th most efficient offense in America.  Kentucky has the 37th most efficient defense.
  2. Florida's defense is ranked 98th in efficiency.  Kentucky's offense is ranked 96th.
  3. Florida has a high correlation between OR% and offensive efficiency.  Kentucky can really help its cause by keeping the Gators off the offensive boards.
  4. One way to beat Florida is to have a positive turnover ratio.  If UK can force Florida to give the ball away more than usual, it bodes well for the Wildcats.
  5. Florida is 1-4 in games in the 60's this year.
  6. Kentucky is 3-8 this year in games in which it has allowed the opponent an eFG% of 50% or greater.
  7. Florida is 2-7 this year when their offensive efficiency was lower than 110.

Injuries and intangibles:

  • Senior day for the Wildcats.  That usually bodes well, but as South Carolina and Duke found out, not always.
  • Florida has better depth, but it is young and inconsistent.  The Cats have dealt with major injuries all year, and it is now second nature to them.
  • Kentucky's seniors have been huge.  Florida has no such leadership on their team.
  • Rupp Arena will be out for blood with a historical UF win streak on the line.

Keys to the game:

  1. Ballhandling -- Kentucky didn't do too well against the Gamecocks.  They need to really improve in this stat against the Gators.
  2. Senior Leadership -- This is the swan song for Crawford and Bradley, and they have been dynamite this season.  If they bring it, the Gators are hurtin' for certain.
  3. Execution -- Kentucky has executed very well, but the Gators out-execute everybody.  Kentucky needs to disrupt the efficient Gator offense.
  4. Calathes --  The surest way to beat Florida is to hold down the Gators' outstanding do-everything guard.
  5. Offensive Rebounding -- Kentucky must keep the Gators off the offensive glass, as offensive rebounds really help the Florida offense.

I love games like this, because it is a huge test of Kentucky's defensive statistics.  If the Cats are as good as advertised defensively, the Gators will have a huge hill to overcome.  If Kentucky is to go into the NCAA tournament and have a chance to advance anywhere, they must be able to stop powerful offenses from scoring, because Kentucky's offense is not capable of keeping up.  This game is a perfect test for both the Cats and the Gators, and a lot of emotion is on the line for the Wildcats.

Leave your comments below if you have them.  Liveblog to begin 30 minutes before the game.

GO, CATS!