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Florida hosts Kentucky with SEC on the line
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On February 12, 2013 @ 6:00 pm In All,Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by David Jones, USA TODAY Sports
GAINESVILLE — Ah, February. Back to reality.
For the past few months, Florida was the rage of the Southeastern Conference. Way better than everyone else, a team destined to run away with the league title. Kentucky, albeit the defending national champion, was the whipping boy. The Wildcats dropped a couple of games and they were left for dead.
And here we are.
As the Big Blue Nation frowned, John Calipari kept working, kept challenging. And started winning. As the Gator Nation delighted, Arkansas handed Florida a dose of reality last Tuesday — an 80-69 loss that not only stopped a 10-game winning streak but made things in the SEC very interesting again.
Florida (19-3 overall, 9-1 in SEC play) is 11-0 at home this season but has lost five straight to the Wildcats going into Tuesday’s 7 p.m. game (ESPN) against Kentucky (17-6, 8-2) and has won just two of the last 11 meetings in the series.
UK has won a season-high five straight games coming into tonight. Once again, UK has huge balance with five players averaging in double figures. And the smiles are gone in Gainesville. They’re back in Lexington.
“They play well in their building. It will be a hard game for us to win,” Calipari said. “Let’s put it this way, they were an Elite Eight team last year, should have been in the Final Four, were one game short of that, and they’ve got everybody back. And college basketball isn’t what it was a year ago, so that’s how a good a challenge, or how big a challenge and how good of a team they are.”
Kentucky’s key is how well it’s guards play. UF starts three guards averaging a combined 34.9 points.
Wildcats forward Kyle Wiltjer: “They have great guards that get out and run, so our guards are going to have to step up. It’s going to be a big game … [For more on Florida hosts Kentucky with first place in the SEC on the line, click here.]
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