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Florida Gators at Kentucky Wildcats
Florida travels to Lexington Tuesday night to face the ailing Kentucky Wildcats, losers of three straight. If Wildcats break their losing streak, they would pull into a tie with Florida at 6-3 in the conference. Both of the Gators conference losses have come to East Division opponents on the road - Tennessee and South Carolina.
Florida 19-4, 6-2, 2-3 (away), RPI #30
Kentucky 16-7, 5-3, 10-4 (home), RPI #74
Florida has won 7 of the last 10
Kentucky has won 3 of the last 5 at Rupp Arena
Players to Watch:
G Nick Calathes, F Alex Tyus, G Chandler Parsons
G Jodie Meeks, F Patrick Patterson, F Perry Stevenson
What Florida must do to win...
The Gators must force the tempo to a fast pace where they play much better than Kentucky does. In their two SEC losses, Florida has been careless with the ball turning it over 18 times vs Tennessee and South Carolina. In the loss in Knoxville, Florida was not able to survive the early onslaught from the crowd and the Vols defense. The Gators need to get off to a fast start to quiet the Rupp Arena fans. Defensively, Florida has to know where Meeks is at all times and get a hand in his face on every shot.
What Kentucky must do to win...
During the Wildcats three game losing streak it has been a myriad of turnovers (South Carolina) and poor shooting (Ole Miss, Miss State) that has plagued Kentucky. The Wildcats need to slow this game down and keep it in the 70s or lower. Meeks needs to start shooting like he was earlier in the year and Patterson and Stevenson have to establish themselves down low. Also, Kentucky needs to have a great home court advantage similar to what Tennessee had on ESPN Gameday last week. Defensively, Kentucky has to have a hand in the Gator shooter's faces. The Vols hadn't played great defense most of the year but were able to hold Florida to 42 percent and just 63 points. Finally, Patterson and Stevenson have to control the boards.
Kentucky had a week to stew over the home loss to Miss State and this is close to a must win for them. If Meeks is on his game, I like Kentucky at home. If not then Florida is not a bad road win bet.
Kentucky wins by 1-6 points
Season: 15-14 SU through 2/8
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