The Kentucky Wildcats’ season has been nothing short of a roller coaster. The Wildcats started off their season beating up on teams they were heavily favored over while failing to earn any Quad 1 wins in their marquee matchups.
John Calipari’s team got back on track over the last month, however, as they’ve won six of their last seven following a 72-67 victory over Florida on Saturday night. The Gators were coming off a 13-point win over No. 2 Tennessee earlier in the week, which made Kentucky’s win on Saturday night even better.
There were two glaring differences in Saturday’s game. The Wildcats were red-hot from three-point range (45%), while their perimeter defense against the Gators (allowed 32% on threes) was able to limit Florida’s outside scoring for most of the game.
Kentucky also scored 14 points off of Florida’s nine turnovers while the Gators only had seven points off nine forced turnovers.
Shot-making and extra effort appeared to be the two x-factors in Kentucky leading the way from start to finish.
Kentucky is now firmly on the right side of the NCAA Tournament bubble and can lock up a spot in March Madness by avoiding any bad losses down the stretch.
The Wildcats will next face the Arkansas Razorbacks on Tuesday night in Lexington. Tip-off is scheduled for 9 pm ET.
Saturday was another quality performance from Jacob Toppin. He was aggressive going to the basket, able to finish at the rim with either hand, and was active on the defensive glass.
Toppin finished with a double-double of 17 points while also grabbing 10 rebounds. It’s the sixth-straight game he’s scored in double figures and his third double-double during that stretch.
It’s not a coincidence that Kentucky is 5-1 in those games. The Wildcats will need him to remain aggressive and focused at both ends of the court if they hope to make some noise next month.