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March 16, 2014

Gator Gameday: SEC Tournament Final

GAME DAY LINKS: Instant Analysis: Florida 56, Tennessee | UF-UK Game Day Thread

No. 1 Florida vs. No. 2 Kentucky
Sunday, March 16, 2014 - 3:15 p.m. EST
TV: ESPN / RADIO: Gator IMG Sports Radio Network, Sirius 108/XM 199
Kentucky Wildcats (24-9)
Streak: Won 2
Last Game: Defeated No. 3 Georgia 70-58
G Aaron Harrison (led Kentucky with 22 points, and 4-for-7 3-point shooting -- against Georgia) Fr. 6-6 218
G Andrew Harrison (dished nine assists against UGA including five to his twin brother) Fr. 6-6 215
F/G James Young (averages 14.4 PPG playing a team-high 32.5 minutes per game) Fr. 6-6 215
F Julius Randle (notched 12 points, 11 rebounds against the Bulldogs) Fr. 6-9 250
C Dakari Johnson (went 0 for 4 from the free-throw line Saturday) Fr. 7-0 265

Nebraska CornhuskersFlorida Gators (31-2)
Streak: Won 25
Last Game: Defeated No. 4 Tennessee 56-49
G Scottie Wilbekin (SEC POY has been the player of the weekend so far in Atlanta) Sr. 6-2 176
G Michael Frazier II (shooting 66.6 percent from 3-point range in Atlanta ... but has only attempted nine shots) So. 6-4 199
F Casey Prather (looking to score double figures in consecutive games for the first time in a month) Sr. 6-6 212
F Will Yeguete (playing three minutes below season average in SEC Tournament) Sr. 6-8 230
C Patric Young (scored 16 points, grabbed seven rebounds in victory against Tennessee) Sr. 6-9 240

Get Michael Frazier II involved

The guy shooting 60 percent from beyond the arc in his last five games probably should have gotten more than two shots off Saturday against Tennessee. Frazier didn't get the ball nearly enough and it has been timely 3-point shooting that has helped blow open two previous meetings with the Wildcats. With Wilbekin coming off back-to-back big games, today could be an ideal time to work Florida's 3-point specialist back into the offense and ride a hot hand.
Offset Kentucky with the press

John Calipari's team is riding high after cruising in its first two games in Atlanta. There is talk the Wildcats are playing their best basketball of the season. The best way to derail that is the same way the Gators worked Kentucky into the ground during the last meeting between these two teams. Kentucky has been one of the few teams Florida has been able to jump out early on, flustering the young Wildcats with immediate pressure. That turns into fatigue late in games.
Avoid another slow start

The Gators have advanced to the SEC title game despite playing more iffy minutes than strong minutes in their first two games. While Tennessee was certainly hot, the Volunteers don't necessarily have the kind of wide-ranging weapons and scoring threats the Wildcats can offer when at their best. The Harrison twins are coming off their best game of the season and could continue that performance into what is usually a down part of the game for Florida. Can Kentucky be the first team to truly make the Gators pay for a lapse in execution?

Billy Donovan on a 25-game win streak:

"For us the reality is tomorrow, whatever the streak is, I don't think our guys look at it. I don't look at it that way either. It's the next game. It's the next challenge. Anything that's happened in the past really has nothing to do with it, just as our last two games against Tennessee had nothing to do with today."
Calipari on a third meeting with Florida:

"My players can all say what they want. I'm not looking forward to playing Florida again. But you know what? We are here, I don't think they're going to let us leave, so we're going to go play this game and see what happens."

Florida 74-68: This one won't be easy. Kentucky took a beating in its last crack at Florida and if you're expecting this game to resemble that one, you're probably in for a surprising Sunday. The Wildcats have a point to prove and a final grasp at a better seed. The Gators are likely now the No. 1 overall seed win or lose but are playing for pride and an SEC Tournament title, something the seniors have not won. Florida and Kentucky will put on a show in front of a Rupp Arena-like crowd. Then again, the Gators have gotten to this point and have always stepped up in big moments. More of the same today. More nets coming down.

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