Willie Cauley-Stein is the most valuable player to have on the floor for Kentucky right now. With no other true center, it is vital that Cauley-Stein stays out of foul trouble and avoids fatigue.
It showed yesterday when Cauley-Stein was on the floor; Florida struggled to get to the rim and finish, while Patric Young's ability to operate in the post was limited. Offensively, Cauley-Stein might not be the most polished player, but he has shown the ability to run the floor and run the pick-and-roll.
Yesterday, it was obvious to see how vital it was to have the freshman from Kansas on the floor. Despite having four fouls and only trailing by one, John Calipari inserted Cauley-Stein back into the lineup with 11 minutes left in the game.
Cauley-Stein was able to avoid picking up his fifth foul while altering the way Florida played. Without another true post player, it is vital that Cauley-Stein is on the floor for 35-plus minutes a game. He has found his niche since the Nerlens Noel injury by challenging shots and finishing at the rim.
It will be up to Cauley-Stein and his ability to stay on the floor if Kentucky wants to make any noise in March.