Florida-Kentucky Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 06, 2012
The way No. 8 Florida sees it, all the pressure is on top-ranked Kentucky. The Wildcats have a 15-game winning streak, have won a nation-best 48 in a row at home and hold the top spot in the Southeastern Conference. They have five players averaging double figures, including freshman phenom Anthony Davis, and have allowed only three opponents to top 65 points all season. They have one of the most complete rosters in the country. If the Gators win Tuesday night in Lexington, Ky., it's an upset. If they lose, it's expected. ''There's no pressure on us, going into Rupp, just playing our game,'' Florida guard Kenny Boynton said. ''We've just got to go there with a winning mind-set. Everything else will take care of itself.'' Florida has won seven in a row, including beating ranked teams Mississippi State and Vanderbilt, to climb back into the top 10. The key has been defense. The Gators haven't allowed an opponent to shoot higher than 44 percent from the field during their winning streak. But they haven't faced anyone like Kentucky. Coach John Calipari has taken three talented freshmen - Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague - and gotten them to build instant chemistry alongside sophomores Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb. Throw in senior Darius Miller, who's given the Gators fits in recent years, and it's easy to see why the Wildcats are the top team in the country. ''They're playing very, very well,'' Florida coach Billy Donovan said. ''I think one of the things for them is their team continues to get better. Whether they're ranked No. 1 or No. 5, clearly they're one of the best teams in the country, there's no doubt about that. ... So, there's really nothing with their team when you look at it that appears like a real glaring weakness.'' Kentucky's biggest strength is its frontcourt. The 6-foot-10 Davis leads the team in scoring and rebounding, and tops the nation in blocked shots. His 116 blocks is one more than the conference's previous freshman record set by LSU's Shaquille O'Neal's in 1990. ''He's great at it,'' Donovan said. ''He does it on the ball. He does it off the ball. I think you've got to be smart when you're attacking the basket. Certainly he is very, very long. He alters the game. He adds a different dimension at the basket for their team, so it can't be a situation where we're not going to go to the basket or not post up because he's there. I just think you've got to make good, wise choices because when he does block shots it's certainly ignites them on the fast break and they're a terrific, transition, fast-breaking team.'' Florida's strength is its backcourt and 3-point shooting. Boynton and fellow guard Erving Walker have combined for 52 assists and 18 turnovers during the team's winning streak. And they're a big reason the Gators lead the nation in 3-pointers. No surprise, the arc is the main area of concern for the Wildcats. ''You just know that they're going to take 30, however you guard it, so my guess would be let's make sure they're guarded,'' Calipari said. ''And if they still make 20, we've had a heck of a start; who do we play next? I mean, they're going to take 30. What if they make 20? They may take 35. What if they make 25?'' In Kentucky's closest games of the season, a one-point win over North Carolina and a one-point loss at Indiana, the Wildcats gave up a combined 20 3-pointers. ''It's an OK way to play,'' Jones said. ''You can live or die by it. We're just going to have to play how we have been playing the last couple of games and we need to build off that.'' The Gators haven't shot nearly as well on the road, but that doesn't mean they will be rattled playing at always-packed Rupp Arena. After all, Florida already has played at Ohio State and at Syracuse this season. The Gators lost both of those, and even though they insist the pressure's on Kentucky, they know what a victory would mean. ''A victory would get us a lot of respect,'' Boynton said. ''But at the end of the day, they're just another SEC team to us. They're no different from Tennessee or South Carolina. If we go out there and play the way we've been playing lately, we've got a great chance of winning.''
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Jay Gruden gives out primo parking spots to hard-working players

Report: Colts' Jones suspended four games for PED use

Report: Royals have interest in Nick Markakis

Ezekiel Elliott domestic violence 911 call released

Manu Ginobili talks interest in 76ers before sticking with Spurs


Lakers reportedly have ‘unnamed trade target in mind

Report: Rodman a 'person of interest' in hit-and-run

Draymond Green reaches plea deal in assault case

Evander Kane arrested after turning himself in

Former NFL coach Dennis Green passes away

Michael Vick says he would only sign with contender

Why the Clippers shouldn't break up their big three

White Sox pay homage to Bo Jackson’s bat-breaking skills with bobblehead

Orioles affiliate pay tribute to David Bowie on their jerseys

Report: Rangers pushing trade efforts for Sale

Russell Martin day-to-day after sauna-related mishap

Celtics reportedly unwilling to give up much for Jahlil Okafor

Report: Jay Bruce drawing trade interest

Vitale: Trump’s speech “filled with lies,” might write in Coach K

Report: Nationals ‘want in’ on Chapman sweepstakes

Hornets co-owner blasts NBA, city for taking away All-Star Game

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

Vikings installing massive horn in new stadium

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Expansion draft playing heavy hand in the current NHL offseason

WATCH: Pop & Timmy have a guys' night out

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker