Florida Gators vs. No. 2 Kentucky Wildcats

By Adam Silverstein
January 12, 2010

Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 12,000]
Time: 9:00 p.m. (EST)

TV: ESPN
Online: ESPN360.com
Sirius 217 – XM: 199

Florida Gators No. 2 Kentucky Wildcats
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: John Calipari
Record: 11-4 Record: 16-0
Division: SEC East Division: SEC East
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Kentucky -3.5, O/U 142

KEEP AN EYE ON…
– Players scoring in double-figures…five Gators starters and one bench player are all averaging double-digit points. Freshman guard Kenny Boynton averages 14.6 ppg while junior forwards Alex Tyus and Chandler Parsons, redshrit junior center Vernon Macklin and sophomore point guard Erving Walker all average 11.7-10.0 ppg.
– Kentucky’s double-digit scorers…three average more than 15 points per game, while the team is scoring 82.4 points per game and shooting 49.8 percent from the floor.
– Tyus…who is averaging 15.0 points and 7.5 rebounds over the last six games. He has been in double figures for six straight contests and scored above his average in four.
– Boynton/Walker connection…the duo combined for 50 points against Vanderbilt on Saturday and have dished out 127 assists to just 58 turnovers on the season.
– The Wildcats’ John Wall…ranks in the top five in the NCAA with 6.9 assists per game and leads the team in points (17.2) and steals (2.2) per game.
– Kentucky’s Patrick Patterson…is averaging 16.7 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.

STREAKS:
– Florida trails the all-time series against Kentucky by a large margin – 86-32. However, the Gators won the last meeting, eight of the last 10 and five straight in Gainesville.
– The Wildcats are the highest-ranked opponent to come to the O’Connell Center since they were also ranked No. 2 in March of 2003.
– Under Donovan, Florida is 3-3 against top-five teams at home (2-2 vs. Kentucky).
– The Gators and Wildcats will face-off on national television for the 24th straight time since 1999 – the longest streak in the SEC.

Read OGGOA’s Gators vs. No. 2 Wildcats preview after the jump!

Off to their best start since the 1965-66 season, the No. 2 Kentucky Wildcats (16-0, 1-0 SEC) head into Gainesville, FL, and the Stephen C. O’Connell Center to face a Florida Gators (11-4, 0-1 SEC) team that is having trouble with consistency.

A quick offseason turnaround led by the hiring of head coach John Calipari has Kentucky’s roster sporting a different look than it had just one year ago. Top-flight freshmen guards John Wall and Eric Bledsoe, along with freshman forward DeMarcus Cousins and junior Patrick Patterson, are setting the tone for what has the potential of being a banner year for the Wildcats.

Florida, on the other hand, has received a boost with newcomers freshman G Kenny Boynton, redshirt junior center Vernon Macklin and freshman F Erik Murphy but are finding it difficult to put it all together on a consistent basis. The Gators took down the rival Florida State Seminoles and then-No. 2 Michigan State Spartans in back-to-back games early in the season. These victories against top-tier opponents helped catapult them to an 8-0 record and a No. 10 national ranking.

Since then, Florida has gone 3-4 with its only signature win against the N.C. State Wolfpack coming on junior F Chandler Parsons’ spectacular 75-foot game-winning, buzzer-beating three-pointer in overtime. The Gators even lost their Southeastern Conference opener on the road against the Vanderbilt Commodores on Saturday.

This tale of two teams meets head-on Tuesday as Florida looks to become a speed bump in Kentucky’s road while the Wildcats hope to dismantle the Gators and remain one of the nation’s best teams.

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