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Kentucky Wildcats (15) @ Florida Gators (12): 2011 SEC Tournament Championship Open Game Thread

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This is the official A Sea of Blue open game thread for the Kentucky Wildcats and the Florida Gators in the SEC Championship game. This is a game most observers saw coming for the SEC season finale this year. These are clearly the two best teams in the conference, and they are going to fight it out for top dog and the auto-bid to the 2011 NCAA Tournament.

Game particulars as follows, courtesy of

Kentucky @ Florida, SEC Championship
Game Notes Kentucky Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Florida Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Date & Time Sun., Mar. 13, 1:00 p.m. ET
Coverage TV: ABC
Radio: BBSN
Online Audio
Other possible viewing options via Spam's Wildcat Page
Text Updates
Location Georgia Dome
Atlanta, Ga.

This is perhaps the end of the season that most SEC observers would have scripted. Florida was expected to be the team that won the regular season, with the Wildcats nipping at their heels. That didn't quite work out, as Alabama and Vanderbilt proved to be better road teams than Kentucky. But in the end, you have the SEC Championship game many envisioned when the brackets came out last weekend.

Keys to a Kentucky victory:

  • Neutralize Chandler Parsons. Parsons is the key to the Gators, and if the SEC player of the year plays well, UK is in trouble.
  • Manage fouls. With Doron Lamb likely out with an ankle, the Wildcats have an even narrower margin of error than normal.
  • Attack the Gators on offense and get to the line. Kentucky has not been doing a good job of getting free throws lately.
  • Terrence Jones. With Lamb down, Kentucky needs a big game out of the SEC Freshman of the Year.
  • Offensive rebounds. Kentucky can outrebound the Gators if they really try, and that would give them an edge.

Keys to a Florida win:

  • Keep Terrence Jones down. Jones has been off all week, and if the Gators can force him to continue his struggles, the odds of a Florida victory go way up.
  • Test Kentucky from the arc. How will UK react with the deadly Lamb down? If UK can't hit threes, they can't beat Florida.
  • Get Kentucky in foul trouble. UK is even thinner than usual, and if Florida can get them in foul trouble, they will face UK's less talented bench for much of the game.
  • Attack the rim. The Gators have been getting to the line well, and the reason is that they have been aggressive driving the ball into the paint.

Kentucky is in a little tough here. This will be a big test of character for the 'Cats, and if they pass this one, it really will do wonders for their confidence heading into the NCAA Tournament.

Go, 'Cats!