Discussion in 'Nuttin' but Net' started by HallGator, Feb 21, 2020.
The beginning of a tough stretch for the Gators. The next 5 games could make or break our season.
The Gators travel to Kentucky with a lot on the line
Brendan Farrell, Sports Writer
Rarely is a matchup between Florida and Kentucky meaningless.
For much of the 2000s and 2010s, the two schools battled for SEC basketball supremacy.
The Gators and the No. 10 Wildcats will renew the rivalry on Saturday in Lexington, Kentucky, with the SEC regular season crown potentially at stake. Kentucky (21-5, 11-2 SEC) currently sits atop the SEC standings, with Florida (17-9, 9-4 SEC) a couple games behind. But with just five games to go and another game against each other in Gainesville on March 7, there is, somehow, still a path for the Gators to move up in the standings.
Both teams come into this tilt in solid form. Florida has reeled off three straight double-digit wins since an ugly loss to Ole Miss and has won five of its last six. The Wildcats have won five in a row. On paper, an unranked team walking into Rupp Arena doesn’t bode well, but it was just two years ago when an unranked Gators team toppled then-No. 18 Kentucky 66-64. The Wildcats’ rank indicates a normal year for the traditional powerhouse, but that hasn’t quite been true beyond that and the win-loss record.
According to KenPom, this is a matchup between the No. 28 (Kentucky) and No. 34 (Florida) teams in the country and the two best teams in the SEC.
The Gators travel to Kentucky with a lot on the line
What an absolute steal of a win this would be. Would take tons of pressure off the rest of the season.
Good luck to all of my NBN brethren. I hope for a great game with no injuries!! My one beef is why would the SEC have the two best teams play 2 weeks apart---that is awful? We should meet the first few games of the conference and then the last game.
I feel like a broken record as i say this every year but I am worried about your shooting.
Thanks Jeff. I don't know which team you're going to see tomorrow, but hoping it's our A Team.
That makes two of us, I'm worried about our shooting too.
Hear ya brother Jeff !
I actually think Tuesday game is way more important. If we lose at KY no big deal(they are higher ranked, at their place, they are suppose to win,) if we win all the pressure is gone because we will be in. We will win most of the games left. But Tuesday if we lose than there will be so much pressure the last three games that it will effect our shooting because we will be too uptight and we will lose most if not all of the rest.
Interesting how close we are on KenPom:
Overall, #28 (UK) vs. #32 (us)
Adjusted offense: #28 vs. #30
Adjusted defense: #54 vs. #67
Where is Tupacbiff when you need him? His conspiracy theory was that the SEC office was always out to screw UF in scheduling the UK games. For a lot of years we would have a Thursday game before playing UK on a Saturday whilst UK played the previous Tuesday. I think that he would see this schedule as the SEC office allowing a typically young UK team to grow before playing the Gators.
But maybe this really young Gator team needed the extra time to grow this year more than UK did.
We will see.
Chris Harry's take on the game:
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Friday, February 21, 2020
FLORIDA at No. 12 KENTUCKY
When: Saturday, 6 p.m. (EST)
Where: Rupp Arena, Lexington, Ky.
Records: Florida (17-9, 9-4); Kentucky (21-5, 11-2)
TV: ESPN (Bob Wischusen, Dick Vitale and Kris Budden)
Radio: Gator IMG Sports Network (Mick Hubert and Bill Koss)
Rupp Arena (capacity 23,000) is one of the greatest home-court advantage in college basketball, with the Gators winning there just 10 times in the previous 92 years.
Florida and 12th-ranked Kentucky face off in a game that could have major ramifications regarding the Southeastern Conference race; big-time ramifications if the Gators can steal one on the road. ... UF, currently in a three-way tie with Auburn and LSU, for second in the league standings, has won three straight (and five of the previous six), most recently a 73-59 home date Saturday against Arkansas. In that one, the Gators jumped to a 19-point first half lead, lost their two leading scorers to foul trouble, then fended up of the Razorbacks after the margin was twice cut to two in the second half. Kentucky is playing its best basketball of the season. The Wildcats are on a five-game winning streak after going to LSU Tuesday night and leaving with a 79-76 victory. The Tigers went into that game knowing a home victory would put them in a tie for first place, but trailed the final 19:36 of the game — and by 15 with four-plus minutes left — before making a late run to make the final score appear close. ... UK leads the all-time series 102-40, including a 51-10 mark at home that includes the last meeting when the Cats defeated the Gators 66-57 on March 9, 2019 at Rupp Arena. In that one, freshman guard Tyler Herro scored 16 points, with a half-dozen coming during a 15-2 spurt that erased a one-point UF lead six minutes after intermission and sent the Wildcats to a comfortable double-digit margin that was never threatened. Forward PJ Washington had 15 points and nine rebounds. Freshman point guard Ashton Hagans added 14 points, as did backup freshman guard Keldon Johnson. UF got 19 points and six rebounds from Kevarrius Hayes, but the Gators finished just three of 19 from the 3-point line and went seven minutes in the second half without a field goal. ... The Gators are 3-5 against the Cats under Coach Mike White, including 1-3 on the road. ... Florida and Kentucky will play each again March 7 at Gainesville in the regular-season finale for both teams.
Florida Pos. Ht. Wt. Class Per Game
Keyontae Johnson F 6-5 225 Sophomore 13.7 pts / 7.0 reb
Kerry Blackshear Jr. F 6-10 232 G-Transfer 13.2 pts / 7.6 reb
Scottie Lewis G 6-4 175 Freshman 8.0 pts / 4.1 reb
Noah Locke G 6-2 193 Sophomore 10.8 pts / 2.6 reb
Andrew Nembhard PG 6-5 191 Sophomore 11.9 pts / 3.0 reb / 5.5 ast
Kentucky Pos. Ht. Wt. Class Per Game
Nick Richards F 6-11 247 Junior 14.5 pts / 8.1 reb
EJ Montgomery F 6-10 228 Sophomore 6.3 pts / 5.4 reb
Immanuel Quickly G 6-3 188 Sophomore 15.2 pts / 4.1 reb
Tyrese Maxey G 6-3 198 Freshman 13.9 pts / 4.2 reb
Ashton Hagans G 6-3 198 Sophomore 12.0 pts / 4.1 reb / 6.8 ast
ONE TO WATCH
Look no further than forward Nick Richards (4) to understand this Kentucky team is not like the previous ones operating under the John Calipari one-and-done business model. Start with the most obvious difference: Richards is an actual junior. Once a McDonald's All-America signee and projected "O&D" lottery pick from Kingston, Jamaica, the 6-foot-11, 247-pound Richards underwhelmed as a freshman (5.1 points, 4.4 rebounds per game) and returned to UK for his sophomore only to have his numbers slip (4.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg). After going through the NBA underclassmen process last spring, Richards opted to return for a third season and the first six weeks were not all that different than the first two years. In a loss to Ohio State in December, he had two points and no rebounds. A week later, a light came in with a 13-point, 10-rebound effort in a huge overtime win over third-ranked and rival Louisville. Two months later, Richards just may be the favorite for SEC Player of the Year. He's averaging 14.5 points and 8.1 rebounds, with 10 double-doubles. He's shooting nearly 66 percent from the floor (if he gets the ball around the restricted area circle, forget it) and 73 percent from the free-throw line. In a win over Mississippi State, Richards scored a career-high 27 and went 15 of 17 from the line. There was the 14-rebound performance in a road win at reigning NCAA runner-up Texas Tech. Defensively, he is an elite rim-protector whose blocked shots can turn into transition opportunities. On Tuesday, in the final minutes of UK's win at LSU, Richards had a nasty dunk, but twisted his ankle at the end of the play when he landed on the ball. He left the game, returned for one defensive possession, then checked out for good. His his status for the Florida game is to be determined, but here's guessing Richard plays.
Freshman backup center Jason Jitoboh (33) made his immense presence felt when called up Saturday against Arkansas.
ABOUT THE GATORS: They're about to enter not only the most difficult five-game stretch of the season, but the most difficult stretch of any team in the SEC this season, with four of the games so-called "Quadrant-1" opportunities, as determined by the NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) that eventually will seed the NCAA Tournament bracket. ... UF has gone back-to-back-to-back games making at least 50 percent of their shots and, not coincidentally, won all three. UF hit 51.9 on the road last week at Texas A&M, repeated
that 51.9 in a weekend defeat of Vanderbilt, then hit 50 against Arkansas, including 63.2 percent in the second half. Over those three games, UF is a combined 28-for-63 from the 3-point line, good enough for 44.4 percent. The Gators lead the SEC in both field-goal percentage (.463) and 3-point percentage (.382) in league play. ... On the season, Florida is scoring 72.8 points, shooting 45.2 overall and 34.5 from deep. Defensively, the Gators are allowing 66.5 points, 41.3 percent and 31.8 from the arc. ... Forward Keyontae Johnson is coming off a career performance in scoring 24 points (on just seven field-goal attempts) to go with 10 rebounds and a 15-for-17 effort from the free-throw line in the win over Arkansas. The game marked his sixth double-double of the season. In SEC play, Johnson is shooting 53.5 percent, 40.6 from the arc, 85.4 from the line and leads the team with 7.6 rebounds per game. ... Point guard Andrew Nembhard leads the Gators in scoring against SEC opponents at 13.8 points per game and has made 71 of 142 of his shots (that's 50 percent). As he's become more of an offensive option, Nembhard's assist total in the league has crept down to 4.2 per game (63 total to 42 turnovers). ... Shooting guard Noah Locke is running away from the SEC field in 3-point marksmanship. He's now at a rip-roaring 52.6 percent (41-for-78), having gone 14 of 21 the last three games. ... Grad-transfer forward Kerry Blackshear Jr. played just 12 minutes against the Razorbacks due to foul trouble, with three of his four fouls coming on the offensive end, accounting for half his season-high six turnovers. Blackshear is now fourth on the team in scoring in SEC play (12.5 ppg) and shooting 40.4 percent from the floor. ... Wing Scottie Lewis continued his exemplary defensive play against Arkansas, in addition to scoring seven points and grabbing seven rebounds and tallying a couple steals. Lewis, the McDonald's All American, picked UF over Kentucky, and likely will be matched against a fellow McDonald's teammate at times Saturday night (read on). ... Speaking of McDonald's guys, backup freshman guard Tre Mann hit some big shots last time out in scoring seven points in his 22 minutes. He's coming around and gaining more confidence at a very good time. ... Reserve 6-11, 300-pound center Jason Jitoboh (1.8 ppg, 1.3 rpg) went nearly 16 minutes against the Hogs and is rounding into a reliable option in the low post. ... Fourth-year junior forward Dontay Bassett is the only player on the UF roster ever to experience a win at Rupp. Bassett, both injured and used sparingly this season, had one blocked shot and two personal fouls in Florida's 66-64 victory at Lexington two years ago. ... ABOUT THE WILDCATS: They're rounding into shape just in time for March, as every other John Calipari team. It's now Season 11 under Calipari and UK is 326-76 in that time (a winning percentage of .811), with five SEC regular-season championships, six conference tournament titles, four Final Fours, another seven Elite Eights and the 2012 NCAA title. As mentioned above, this Calipari team is different in that it's older. Of the eight rotations players, three are freshmen, but only one plays more
than 16 minutes. The remaining five: three sophomores, one junior and a grad-transfer, yet KenPom metrics still rank the Wildcats 336th (out of 353) nationally in the "Experience" category. That's next-to-last in the SEC -- to Florida (346th), by the way. ... Kentucky is scoring 75.2 points per game on 46.1 percent from the floor and 32.7 from the 3-point line. Defensively, the Cats give up 65.9 points, 38.5-percent shooting overall and 29.7 from distance. KenPom rates UK as No. 28 overall, 29th in offensive efficiency and 53rd on defense. ... Oddly, Kentucky's 3-point shooting has been worlds better on the road versus at home. Since December, UK has made 24.4 percent of its 3s at Rupp (including just 3 of 32 the last two games), while converting an eye-popping 49.5 on the road (including 15 of 27 the last two games). Bizarre. ... Guard Immanuel Quickly, another Cat who opted to return after a so-so freshman season, has emerged as the go-to shot-maker (39 percent from 3) and a clutch free-throw shooter (league-best 91.2 percent). He can create one when the Cats need one. ... Point guard Ashton Hagans, the odds-on pick for SEC Defensive Player of the Year, leads the conference in assists with 171 and steals with 50. Hagans, though, left Tuesday night's LSU game with what appeared to be a hip injury with about seven minutes to play and did not return. His status, also like Richards', will be determined. ... Guard Tyrese Maxey, one of four McDonald's guys, is on the roster, is well on his way to one-and-done lottery-pick status. He had 26 points in his first collegiate game against No. 1 Michigan State, a career-high 27 in the big Louisville win, and 25 three games ago against Vanderbilt. He can score at all three levels. ... Backup 6-9 forward Nate Sestina was the nation's second most-sought grad transfer last summer. The former Bucknell star is averaging 5.8 points and 4.2 rebounds off the bench, but can be a game-changer with his stretch-4 shooting from the arc, where he's gone 19-for-47 on the season (40.4 percent). He hit three of four from deep in the win at LSU.
BY THE NUMBERS
Former UF guard Jalen Hudson jumps for victorious joy after the Gators' game-clinching defensive stop to beat Kentucky 66-64 in 2018, one of only 10 all-time UF road wins in the series.
* .161 — Florida's all-time winning percentage at Lexington, based on that 10-52 record that dates to 1927.
* 5 — All-time road wins for the Gators against opponents ranked in the Associated Press Top 15. Three of them were against Kentucky, but none this century (1966, 1988, 1998). The other two? At Vanderbilt in 1968 and at Mississippi State in 2003.
* 48 — SEC regular titles either won outright or shared by Kentucky. The remaining 13 teams in the league have won a combined 28 (including seven by Florida).
* 289 — Current KenPom ranking of Evansville, which has lost 15 straight games to fall to 9-19 on the season. the Purple Aces defeat of Kentucky, then No. 1, back on Nov. 12 will go down as one of the biggest (and most inexplicable) upsets in college basketball history.
* 2018 — The last time (and one of only two times the last 12 seasons) the Gators defeated the Wildcats at Rupp, thanks to 17 points and big last-second blocked shot from fourth-year junior Jalen Hudson, plus 13 points, eight assists and six rebounds from senior point guard Chris Chiozza.
After flailing about at times during the season, Florida now controls its destiny relative to where it finishes in the SEC, including a shot (albeit a long one) at winning the league. In the third week of February, what more could you ask for?
Pregame Stuff: Florida at Kentucky (Saturday, 6 pm) - Florida Gators
Speculation is that one or both of Hagans and Richards are out. Seems Hagans is most likely out.
I would love if Hagans was out honestly. I’d like to see how we handle things. Can Maxey distribute the ball or play me ball??
If Nick is out then our 4 men have to stop playing like sissies... not sure that can happen....
I’m just so damn proud of Nick Richards!!! He has worked his ass off and when so many bounce after one year or transfer he stuck it out and will play pro ball longer than those that left!
Hard to love guys for one year. I’m glad I can embrace Nick!!
And maybe set an example, not just for future UK freshmen, but other SEC freshmen in years to come. Especially if he winds up SEC POY.
Chris Harry's writeup said this is the toughest stretch any SEC team will face this season. Oh boy.
Mute....why didn't we get Jimmy Dykes for this game? Seriously
Gators look for improved transition defense
Gvl Sun Graham Hall
When the Gators tip-off at 6 p.m. Saturday against No. 10-ranked Kentucky in Rupp Arena, marking the first of two contests against the Wildcats (21-5, 11-2 SEC) in a five-game span, coach Mike White is looking for Florida to make further strides when it comes to the team’s transition defense.
“Our transition defense has got to be much better than it’s been lately. It’s probably our biggest deficiency right now, along with defending without fouling, and that’s where (Kentucky is) so proficient. As good as anyone in the country at getting to the line, and as good as anyone in the country at converting at the line, so we’ve got to play with more discipline defensively,” White said. “We’re playing really hard, but we’ve got to clean it up.” He added Florida has assigned roles in a sense regarding who should chase rebounds and who should get back in transition, saying the team opts for the latter based on the strength of the roster.
“We call it floor balance. We’ve got offensive rebounders and we’ve got floor balance guys, and we try not to have any gray area. Especially with the make-up of this team, and we’re not the fastest team, and it’s part of our problem at times in transition defense, and so we’re erring on the side of getting back,” White said. “Floor balance guys have to get back for us, and for the most part we’ve done that. We have to get even better with it, and our frontcourt guys have got to be — we’ve got to have more urgency from those guys to get back, and we’ll need that tomorrow, of course, to have any type of chance.”
Gators look for improved transition defense
Men's Basketball 2/21/2020 4:22:00 PM Guy RamseyUK Athletics
No. 10 Cats Prepared to Host Gators on Saturday
The first thing that come to Nick Richards' mind – other than the pain he was feeling – was disbelief.
Late in a big road win at LSU that gave Kentucky a two-game cushion in the race for the Southeastern Conference title, Richards threw down an alley-oop. In a freak accident, the ball landed under the basket just before Richards did.
There was nothing Richards could do to avoid a rolled right ankle. "I don't think that's ever happened to anybody, but what are you going to do about it?" Richards said.
All Richards can do is try to recover as quickly as possible. He returned to the LSU game, but began a regimen of treatment immediately afterward. He did not practice Thursday, but was expected to give it a go Friday ahead of a 6 p.m. Saturday matchup between No. 10/10 Kentucky (21-5, 11-2 SEC) and Florida (17-9, 9-4 SEC). "I think my ankle's pretty good," Richards said. "I'm just going day by day, getting treatment on it every day, listening to my trainer and that's basically it."
Also day-to-day is Ashton Hagans, who suffered a thigh bruise that kept him out of the end of the game at LSU, meaning UK is dealing with yet more roster uncertainty. Within the first two weeks of the season, Richards, EJ Montgomery and Immanuel Quickley all dealt with injuries. A mere three games after they all returned, Nate Sestina went down with a fractured wrist. Then, in late January, Kahlil Whitney departed, leaving UK with eight healthy scholarship players.
"You know, that's just the basketball season," Richards said. "Every basketball team has their own adversity that they go through. It's just who figures it out and who's the team that's able to keep going, push through it is going to the better team."
No. 10 Cats Prepared to Host Gators on Saturday - University of Kentucky Athletics
Can't remember the last time we played well with Vitale in house.