The Cats are coming off another hard fought win over the Auburn Tigers this week and now the Gators are waiting.
Florida is playing as good if not better than anyone in the country as they are bringing a 22-2 (11-0 SEC) record into Rupp Arena for College Game Day. This will prove to be the Cats' toughest game of the season by far. Sure, Kentucky has played the likes of Baylor, Michigan State, Louisville and UNC, but let's be honest here, none of the aforementioned teams are playing anywhere near the level Florida is right now. The Gators start four seniors all of whom are very big, strong and talented players. I know the Cats opened up as a 3 point favorite earlier today (I expect that will change before tip time tomorrow), but this game is NOT GOING TO BE EASY. However, if there was ever a game for this team to prove themselves, this is it.
Now, let's take a look at some history of the University of Florida...
LOCATION: Gainesville, Florida
NICKNAME: Florida Gators
MASCOT: Albert/Alberta (for the women's team)
Over the course of this season, we have seen some guys on the team put together some pretty impressive performances, but we have never seen this team when EVERYONE is playing to their potential at the same time. I'm afraid that is what we are going to have to see for this team to pull out a win against the Gators. It's aggravating when you know how much better this team is capable of playing instead of what we've seen for much of the season.
Here's a look at what the Cats will be facing Saturday when they take on the Gators...
(CLICK TO ENLARGE)
Once again, this is a must win game for the Cats for the simple fact that there are no more quality wins left to be had except for the rematch with the Gators in Gainesville and that is no easy feat to pull off. So they have to win this one at home if they want to continue to improve their post season resume. A split with Florida would look good for the Cats come Selection Sunday (OBVIOUSLY NOT AS GOOD AS A SWEEP WOULD LOOK), but to lose both would do nothing but put doubt in the selection committees mind when they set down to set the brackets.
Kentucky and Florida are longtime rivals, so let's take a quick look at the series.
Kentucky leads the all-time series with a record of 94-34 with their first ever win over the Gators coming in 1927 in their first meeting by a score of 44-36. Over the last 10 meetings, Kentucky has an 8-2 record versus Florida and split their games last season winning in Rupp and losing on the road. The longest winning streak of the series belongs to Kentucky at 15 games from 1942 until 1965 when the Gators pounded the Cats by a score of 84-68 in Gainesville.
This game is going to be a defining moment of the season, it's going to show us just what this team is capable of and it will pretty much give you an idea of what you can expect as far as a post season run goes. Coming into the season, there was tons of expectations piled upon this team (unfairly) and thus far they have struggled to live up to them. But, there is a ton of talent on this team and one has got to hope that things will click and that talent will finally start showing itself and the sooner the better.
We'll see you Saturday night after what is hopefully a huge Kentucky win...