Kentucky Wildcats (8-13) vs. Florida Gators (12-6)
- Game Time: 4 pm ET on Saturday, February 27th.
- Location: Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky.
- TV Channel: CBS will broadcast today’s action.
- Announcers: Brad Nessler and Clark Kellogg will call the action.
- Online Stream: Stream the game online using CBS Sports Live.
- Radio: Tom Leach and Mike Pratt will have the UK radio network call on 630 AM, 98.1 FM in Lexington and on the UK Sports Network.
- Rosters: UK | UF
- Last Game Box Scores: UK | UF
- Stats to Know: UK | UF
- Odds: Kentucky opened as a 2-point favorite, though ESPN’s matchup predictor gives Florida a 54.1% chance at winning.
- Prediction: After initially projecting Florida to win, TeamRankings now has Kentucky winning 73-70. KenPom projects a 69-68 win for the Gators. numberFire projects a 71-70 victory for Kentucky.
“It’s called a winning streak. It has happened before.” - Lou Brown, Major League
The Kentucky Wildcats have won three games in a row for only the second time this season. They ended their last three game streak with a dominant effort in Gainesville to take down the Florida Gators. With lots of uncertainty with the remaining games on the schedule, it could be big for Kentucky to get another win against Florida.
While Kentucky has only gone 4-7 since their first matchup with the Gators, Florida has won seven of 10. They have dominant wins over both Tennessee and Auburn, and they took down No. 11 West Virginia on the road in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.
Tre Mann continues to lead the Gators in scoring with 14.3 per game, although he has a great supporting cast with five other players averaging more than nine points per game.
Mann was held to seven points in the first matchup in Gainesville, but Anthony Duruji had one of his best games of the year with 15 points. However, Duruji has not scored more than seven points in a game since then.
Sophomore forward and one-time Kentucky recruit Scottie Lewis hasn’t quite had the breakout season many envisioned for him, but he is coming off a 16-point, five-steal performance in Tuesday’s 74-57 win over the Sharife Cooper-less Auburn Tigers. He was held to two points, two blocks and three rebounds in the first matchup with Kentucky, so if the Gators are going to win in Rupp, they’ll need Lewis to play much better than he did in Round 1.
When the Cats and Gators played the first time, junior guard Tyree Appleby was still finding his way in his first playing season in Gainesville after sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer rules. The former Cleveland State star has now scored in double figures in eight of his last nine games, so he should have a bigger impact in Round 2 of Cats vs. Gators.
For the most part, it was a balanced attack in Kentucky’s win over Florida. Six Wildcats finished with nine or more points, the team shot 55.8% from the field and made 6-13 three-pointers. While it is true that Kentucky is shooting much better from deep, that game was still an anomaly matched only by their 50% mark on Saturday against Tennessee.
Florida is currently projected as an 8-seed in the NCAA Tournament, so they are trying to get more wins to move up and avoid a potential matchup against a 1-seed in the second round.
Kentucky is working to build their resume for a prayer of an at-large bid, but more so, they are looking to improved their seed in the SEC Tournament to give themselves a better chance at the league’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
Also, this will be Kentucky’s Senior Day, as Davion Mintz, Olivier Sarr and walk-on Riley Welch will go through the festivities, though Mintz could still return for a sixth season. Sarr is not expected to return next year.
The game is going down Saturday at 4 pm ET, so make sure you stay tuned to A Sea of Blue for all pre-, post-, and in-game updates about the Cats.