Florida G Michael Frazier II expected out Thursday

Treading water and trying to stay afloat for a postseason berth – the NCAA Tournament is basically out of the picture with the NIT a more likely landing spot – the Florida Gators (12-11, 5-5 SEC) will be forced to overcome another speed bump as their leading scorer, junior guard Michael Frazier II was ruled out for Thursday’s game against Ole Miss.

During his weekly press conference on Monday, head coach Billy Donovan declared Frazier unlikely to play on Thursday due to a high-ankle sprain he suffered on Saturday in the first half of Florida’s 68-61 loss to No. 1 Kentucky.

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The Fastbreak: No. 1 Kentucky sneaks by Florida 68-61 in Gainesville

It was a monumental task for the struggling Florida Gators to potentially upset the No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida, on Saturday night. And as it turns out, it was indeed too much to ask Florida (12-11, 5-5 SEC), which fell to 2-5 in its last seven games as Kentucky (23-0, 11-0 SEC) remained undefeated with a 68-61 victory.

The Gators are now 2-11 all-time against top-ranked teams with all 11 losses coming to the Wildcats. Florida has never defeated a team ranked No. 1 in the nation during a regular-season contest.

OnlyGators.com breaks down Saturday’s action with 10 quick-hitters:

It was over when: Redshirt junior forward Dorian Finney-Smith drained a big trey and redshirt junior guard Eli Carter completed a driving finger roll, each play cutting Kentucky’s lead to two late in the contest. Redshirt senior center Jon Horford then had an opportunity to tie the game at the charity stripe with 1:41 remaining, but the 89.7 percent free throw shooter missed both attempts. In a similar situation nearly a minute later, Horford was called for a travel under the basket as opposed to him drawing a deserved foul while dribbling (which would have given him a chance to redeem himself). The Wildcats held on for the road victory over the Gators, hitting 21-of-22 free throws.

Significant stretch: Kentucky opened the second half 6-for-8 from the field, but a 6-0 Florida run gave the hosts back a two-point advantage with 12:33 to play. The Wildcats responded with a 5-0 spurt to re-take the lead with 11:41 left, holding it for the duration of the contest. UF actually led longer in the game, 19:36-16:19.

Important injury: Junior G Michael Frazier II, who appeared to be on fire early in the contest, twisted his ankle late in the first half. He tried to test it in the final 20 minutes but sat for the vast majority of the period, leaving the Gators without their leading scorer. Frazier was 3-for-4 from the floor and 2-for-3 from beyond the arc with 10 points at the time of his departure. Later, Frazier was officially diagnosed with an ankle sprain.

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Gameday: Florida Gators vs. No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats – Enormous test on a national stage

Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, Florida [Capacity: 11,548]
Time: 9:00 p.m. EST

TV: ESPN (Dan Shulman, Jay Bilas, Shannon Spake)
Streaming Video: WatchESPN.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app

SiriusXM: 91 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]

Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: John Calipari
Record: 12-10 (5-4 SEC) Record: 22-0 (9-0 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern

Odds: Florida +8.5


ESPN’s College GameDay will be live from Gainesville for the fourth time in the basketball version of the program’s history – first since 2011. The Gators have been either the host or visitor at the show’s location six times prior, holding a 5-1 record in those games with a perfect 3-0 mark at home in the O’Dome. Five of those previous six contests have come against the Wildcats.

The program will have a taped portion on ESPNU at 10 a.m. followed by a live one-hour show ahead of the day of college basketball at 11 a.m. on ESPN. There will also be a live one-hour pre-game show on ESPN starting at 8 p.m.

Rece Davis hosts with Jay Bilas, Seth Greenberg and Jay Williams all on set. Dan Shulman, Bilas and sideline reporter Shannon Spake will call the game. There will also be an announcer-free version of Saturday night’s contest on ESPN3.com.

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College GameDay at Florida-Kentucky on Feb. 7

ESPN College GameDay will emanate from Gainesville, Florida for the first time since 2012 – in basketball for the first time since 2009 – as the Florida Gators (11-9, 4-3 SEC) host the undefeated and top-ranked Kentucky Wildcats (20-0, 7-0 SEC) next Saturday in a showdown of fierce Southeastern Conference rivals.

The game, which is scheduled to tip at 9 p.m. and air live nationally on ESPN, will be preceded by the College GameDay program featuring host Rece Davis and analysts Jay Bilas, Seth Greenberg and Jay Williams.

The two-hour ESPN show is split over the course of the day, airing live from 11 a.m. to noon as a kick-off show and returning to air one hour before tip (8 p.m.) for an hour-long pre-game show. There will also be an hour-long taped program on ESPNU at 10 a.m.

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Healthy, motivated Matt Jones makes statement

Photo Credit: Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun

It would be unfair to label junior running back Matt Jones as a forgotten man but there is no question that another, younger Florida Gators rusher was the prime candidate to breakout in a major way in 2014.

And sophomore Kelvin Taylor may do just that at some point this season.

For now, it is Jones who will not be denied, Jones who is making a major statement and Jones who carried Florida’s offense on his back for 25 yards into the end zone in the third overtime of Saturday’s game.

“We knew Matt Jones could run like that, has been running like that through camp. We’re really just excited to see him be that powerful back. Not a lot of people are talking about him in the SEC, but we feel like he’s the best back,” said redshirt senior center Max Garcia, one of Jones’s interior blockers.

“Just to see him work hard like that and be our workhorse on the offense, just to see him break tackles – I think he broke like 16 tackles or something like that – that just motivates the offensive line to block just a little bit more, to take another bite.”

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Florida secondary faltered early, strengthened late

Though offense has been a struggle for the Florida Gators during head coach Will Muschamp‘s tenure, the team’s defense has been well-respected and even feared by opponents over the last three seasons.

Florida looked to be trending upward offensively and holding steady on its defensive success after its 65-0 season-opening rout of Eastern Michigan, but Muschamp cautioned after the game that his young secondary made a number of mistakes in the game that a better opponent would expose.

That opponent was the Kentucky Wildcats.

Picking on the Gators’ young defensive backs, Wildcats quarterback Patrick Towles passed for 369 yards on Saturday – only eight fewer than he did against Tennessee-Martin – and a career-high three touchdowns.

Florida gave up eight big plays in the game and 173 yards on six of them, mostly due to miscues in the secondary.

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Snell: Florida-Kentucky not for the faint of heart

By Shannon Snell – OnlyGators.com Featured Columnist

I’m sure Ben Hill Griffin Stadium is so close to UF Health, because after Saturday night’s Florida-Kentucky game, I’m guessing a whole lot of people had to be admitted.

This may not be a popular opinion, but the first thing everyone should know coming out of Saturday’s game is that the Wildcats are a good football team. Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops and his boys did not make the trip to The Swamp just to put on a good show and play in a close game. They came to win and gave themselves every opportunity.

In reality, there are a lot of things that the Gators can take away from a game of this nature, one they won – not lost – in three overtimes.

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Twitter Chatter: Florida beats Kentucky in 3OT

In a new feature here on OnlyGators.com, we take a look at what former and current Florida Gators players had to say on social media during the team’s latest game.

Florida (2-0, 1-0 SEC) defeated the Kentucky Wildcats (2-1, 0-1 SEC) at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida, on Saturday night, earning a 36-30 victory in the first triple-overtime game in school history.

Check out all of the tweets…after the break!

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