Kentucky Basketball vs. Florida Gators
- Time: 4 pm ET
- Location: Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky.
- TV: ESPN has today’s TV coverage.
- Announcers: Karl Ravech and Jimmy Dykes will call the action.
- Online Stream: You can watch the game online with WatchESPN, ESPN app or a free trial of fuboTV.
- Listen: Check out the Kentucky radio broadcast through the UK Sports Network with Tom Leach and Mike Pratt on the call.
- Satellite Radio: Sirius 81 | XM 81 | SXM App 81
- Replay: SEC Network (check local listings) and WatchESPN
- Rosters: UK I UF
- Stats To Know: UK I UF
- Team Sheets: UK I UF
- Odds: DraftKings has Kentucky favored by 10 points with an over/under of 140. KenPom gives Kentucky an 89% chance of winning, while ESPN’s matchup predictor has it at 90.3%. Barttorvik projected the Cats to be 11.5-point favorites and gives them an 87% chance of winning.
- Predictions: Barttorvik projects a 77-65 win for the Wildcats, while KenPom is going with a 77-64 win for the home team. TeamRankings is going with a 74-64 victory, Kentucky!
After an up-and-down game against South Carolina on Tuesday, the Kentucky Wildcats will return home Saturday to face the Florida Gators.
Normally a rather close series, Kentucky has gone 11-4 vs. the Gators since 2015. That includes a five-game win streak before Florida ended that with a narrow win at Rupp Arena last season.
Kentucky comes into the game as arguably the hottest team in the country. Despite a couple of so-so performances in the last several weeks, the Cats are still 7-1 in their last eight with the lone loss coming to Auburn, and we all know what happened there.
But Mike White’s squad will not go down without a fight on Saturday.
The Gators will come into town riding a four-game win streak and currently set at 16-8 (6-5) on the season. With key wins over Florida State and Ohio State, they also have a head-scratching loss against Texas Southern at home earlier this season.
As of Thursday, Florida is the second-to-last team in the field of 68 in Joe Lunardi’s bracketology. So while the Gators have struggled mightily at times this season, they still have a lot to play for, and a win at Kentucky would be the spark they need to ensure they don’t miss the Big Dance.
Entering Saturday’s matchup, Florida is currently averaging 71.1 points per game on 43% shooting from the field, and 31% from three with about eight makes a game.
On both sides of the court this team is fairly decent. KenPom currently ranks them as the 51st team overall, while posting an offensive efficiency ranking of 58th and a defensive efficiency ranking of 56th.
The Gators will be led into Rupp by Colin Castleton. The senior big-man is currently averaging 15.4 points on 54% shooting from the field. He also adds 8.9 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game.
Recently coming back from a shoulder injury, it will be interesting to see how the talented forward holds up, as he will have to battle Oscar Tshiebwe down on the block all afternoon.
Alongside Castleton, Florida has two other players averaging double figures in Tyree Appleby (10.8 ppg) and Phlandrous Fleming Jr. (10.4 ppg).
The big key for Florida in this game will be making shots from the outside. This team is not a great three-point shooting team, and they don't have the offensive firepower to win in a shootout. If the three isn’t falling, it should be a long afternoon for the Gators.
Kentucky comes into the game fourth in offensive efficiency and 12th in defensive efficiency, according to KenPom, which also has them ranked third overall. This team is elite on both ends of the court, and they should be able to flex their muscles again on Saturday.
Oscar will have the chance to put up another great performance against one of the better bigs in the conference, while the guards have the opportunity to really put their foot on the gas in this game.
Look for big games from TyTy Washington, but this also feels like the type of matchup Sahvir Wheeler finally breaks out of his slump as well. Wheeler has missed 17 straight shots from the field over the last three games, though he does have 27 assists vs. 11 turnovers during the span, so he’s still running the offense efficiently.
Ultimately, this game could end up being tricky. Florida needs another solid win to add to their NCAA Tournament resume, as they are on firmly on the bubble heading into the final month of the season.
A win in Rupp Arena on Saturday, might just help solidify a spot in the Big Dance. If Kentucky comes out slow, it will give this Florida team hope, and that’s always the first ingredient in an upset bid.
Overall, Kentucky is the better team in this game. The eye test shows it, and the numbers prove it.
Now it’s time to continue to build towards what could be a special run come March.
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