Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 11,548]
Time: 12:00 p.m. EST
|(1) FLORIDA GATORS||(25) KENTUCKY WILDCATS|
|Head Coach: Billy Donovan||Head Coach: John Calipari|
|Record: 28-2 (17-0 SEC)||Record: 22-8 (12-5 SEC)|
|Conference: Southeastern||Conference: Southeastern|
|Roster | Schedule||Roster | Schedule|
Odds: Florida -9 | O/U: OFF
HISTORY, STATS AND STREAKS
» The Gators won the outright 2014 SEC regular-season title and clinched the No. 1 overall seed in the SEC Tournament last Thursday after Kentucky lost and gave UF a four-game lead in the league standings with three contests left to play. It is the program’s second-straight title, third in the last four seasons, seventh overall and fifth outright.
» Kentucky leads Florida 94-35 in the all-time series with the Wildcats also holding a 24-15 mark over the Gators since Donovan took over the program. UF is 23-33 all-time at home against UK but is 10-7 in the O’Dome under Donovan.
» Donovan is 3-8 against Calipari since the latter coachtook over in Lexington.
» The Gators defeated the Wildcats 69-59 on Feb. 15 in Lexington, KY.
» UF enters Saturday’s regular-season finale on a program-record 22-game winning streak and at 17-0 have set a school mark for most conference wins in a single season. Its 28 wins are also the most the Gators have captured in a single season.
» Florida is the second team in SEC history to hold a 17-0 mark in league play. If the Gators win on Saturday, they will become the first team to finish 18-0 in the league.
» Florida is also on two school-record home winning streaks – 31-straight overall and 16-in-a-row against league opponents.
» The Gators at 28-2 (17-0 SEC) have set a program mark for best overall start to a season. UF has also won 27 of its last 28 games.
» Florida has won nine-straight SEC road games, also a program record.
» The Gators are 79-9 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding an opponent under 71 points in a game.
» UF is 13-2 this season in single-digit decisions after going 0-6 in such contests during the 2012-13 campaign. Florida is also 1-0 in overtime games.
» The Gators are 11-2 in true road games this campaign with both losses coming against ranked opponents during the first month of the season. UF lost those contests by a combined seven points.
» This marks the latest in a regular season that Florida has been ranked No. 1 nationally. The Gators have achieved a No. 1 ranking in four separate seasons and are 18-5 playing as the top team in the country.
» Florida’s senior class is the first in school history to win three SEC championships.
PROGRAM RECORDS SET, EXTENDED THIS SEASON
» Record to start a season (overall): 28-2
» Record to start a season (SEC): 17-0
» Winning streak (overall): 22 games
» Regular-season wins: 28
» SEC wins (single season): 17
» SEC road wins (consecutive): 9
» Home wins (overall, consecutive): 31
» Home wins (SEC, consecutive): 17
Consisting of four true seniors who are ending their careers as the most accomplished group of four-year players in school history, the Class of 2014 hopes to go out with a bang on Saturday as it tries to become the first team in history to go 18-0 in the SEC and the first group in school history to finish league play undefeated.
Casey Prather, Scottie Wilbekin, Will Yeguete and Patric Young enter Saturday’s affair with 112 wins, tied for second-most in school history with Lee Humphrey and Chris Richard (112). The foursome will stand alone in second place with a victory and be just four away from tying Walter Hodge (2009) for most in Florida’s record books with 117.
Reciting the accomplishments and history-making marks this group has reached can read like a broken record when it comes to these Gators (see the list above).
Consider that Florida has not lost a game in the O’Dome since March 4, 2012 – two years and four days ago – holding a 31-0 record at home in that span. The Gators have also won three of the last four SEC regular-season titles including back-to-back crowns.
Prather, Wilbekin, Yeguete and Young have never failed to advance to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament despite falling in the Elite Eight in three-straight years.
“For me to see the way these guys have grown over a four-year period has been a real blessing for me,” said Donovan on Friday. “Hopefully I’ve been able to teach in some way them as much as they’ve taught me in some ways. When you’re coming down to the regular season, a lot of people try to say, ‘OK, this is it,’ but there’s still a lot in front of us, I think, and hopefully we can enjoy every minute we play together.”
Asked what he thought of the class as a whole, Donovan had plenty of praise to spread around.
“First and foremost, great kids, great people, people of substance and character. I say that where none of them are perfect. They’ve all made mistakes. They’ve all been through their ups and downs. But I think at the heart of who they are, they’re really, really great kids.
“I think the other thing that I would say is this institution means an enormous amount to them personally. Them putting on a Florida uniform, them playing here has meant a lot to them and id something that I think they’ll carry with them the rest of their lives. Their teammates have been equally as important to them as the institution has been. I think they’re kids that have worked really, really hard and tired each and every day to do the best they can.”
FEATURE STORIES ON FLORIDA’S SENIOR CLASS
Coming Sunday: Patric Young
Finding his way: Rebuilt Scottie Wilbekin emerges as senior leader
Fourth year’s a charm: Casey Prather grows from afterthought to pace-setter
Rare breed: Will Yeguete personifies team’s heart and soul
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED VIDEO
CLIMBING THE CHARTS
Young is one of four true seniors on the roster but the only one steadily inching his way up many of Florida’s all-time lists. He has played in 139 career games and will only add to his totals as the campaign progresses. Earlier this season, Young became just the 50th player in school history to score 1,000 career points.
Most Wins by a Senior Class
1. Walter Hodge (2009) – 117
2. Casey Prather / Scottie Wilbekin / Will Yeguete / Patric Young – 112
2. Lee Humphrey / Chris Richard (2007) – 112
1. Walter Hodge – 151
2. Kenny Boynton – 145
3. Erving Walker – 144
4. Chandler Parsons / Alex Tyus – 142
6. Patric Young – 141
6. Dan Werner / Chris Richard – 141
34. Hans Tanzler – 1,221
35. Patric Young – 1,198
1. Dwayne Schintzius – 272
6. Eugene McDowell – 150
7. Patric Young – 146
Field Goal Percentage (minimum 500 attempts)
4. Eugene McDowell – .597
5. Al Horford – .588
6. Ronnie Williams – .585
7. Udonis Haslem – .584
8. Patric Young – .582
Dunks (unofficial statistic)
1. Dwayne Davis – 168
4. Alex Tyus – 146
5. Patric Young – 134
1. Udonis Haslem – 409
4. Malcom Cesare – 361
5. Andrew Moten – 342
6. Patric Young – 339
6. Dwayne Schintzius – 339
1. Erving Walker – 547
8. Brett Nelson – 406
9. Taurean Green – 297
10. Scottie Wilbekin – 393
Wins at an SEC school
1. Adolph Rupp (Kentucky) – 875
2. Dale Brown (LSU) – 448
3. Billy Donovan (Florida) – 443