Kentucky has nothing left to prove at home. Now, the Wildcats have just a bit of unfinished SEC business at Florida on Sunday.
Top-ranked Kentucky is coming off a resounding 79-49 victory over Georgia on Thursday night in its home finale. It was the Cats' 52nd consecutive victory at Rupp Arena.
Kentucky (29-1, 15-0 SEC) will try to wrap up an undefeated conference season, which has happened only twice since 1956, when it takes on the 16th-ranked Gators. Kentucky went unbeaten in the league in 1996 and 2003.
"The biggest thing is, we have not had any duds," coach John Calipari said of his team's season, in which the only loss was to Indiana. "Normally, you go through a season, you're going to have two or three duds."
"So we go to Florida, it's going to be a really hard game. It will be a sold-out arena. They are going to be going crazy down there. You know, my thing is, let's just make it hard for them and see what happens."
Kentucky absolutely dominated Florida in the first meeting, winning 78-58 in Lexington on Feb. 7. The Wildcats shot 52.7 percent in that victory while playing their usual suffocating defense, holding the Gators to 34.9 percent from the field (22 of 63), including 22.2 percent (six of 27) from 3-point range.
Calipari said he went into that game wanting to hold Florida to eight 3-pointers. Mission accomplished. Kentucky's length should again be a problem for the Gators' three-guard lineup of 6-foot-3 Bradley Beal, 6-2 Kenny Boynton and 5-8 Erving Walker.
That's a prolific 3-point shooting trio, but Kentucky enters the game hot from distance, too. The Cats were an amazing 15 of 27 from behind the arc vs. Georgia. That kind of shooting, combined with Kentucky's defense, size and athleticism is almost unfair.
"We'll beat you by a bunch when we shoot it like that," Calipari said.
-Senior post Eloy Vargas, a two-year player at Kentucky, made the first start of his career on Senior Night against Georgia. Vargas played 16 minutes, and he contributed two points and five rebounds. He made one of six shots. Vargas is one of two seniors on the team, along with G Darius Miller. "I like the fact that other guys were willing to step back to let Darius and Eloy have their day," coach John Calipari said.
-Freshman F Anthony Davis made four of five shots vs. Georgia, including a monster two-handed dunk off a rebound. His shooting percentage keeps going up. He has made 70 of 102 shots in the past 12 games and is at 66.1 percent for the season.
-Freshman forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist thrilled fans recently when he said, "I'm graduating here. I'm not going anywhere. I'm staying at Kentucky." Everything a player says right now about leaving early (or not leaving early) has to be taken with several grains of salt, but certainly this will be a huge topic even as the Cats make a run to the NCAA Tournament. Kidd-Gilchrist, who is averaging 12.0 points and 7.8 rebounds, would certainly be welcome on next year's team, which is sure to see a mass exodus of talent. If he is in a Kentucky uniform next season, look for him to improve his jumper and his 3-point shooting, which stands at 28.6 percent (12 of 42) heading into Saturday's game.