As the No. 1 overall seed heading into the 2014 NCAA tournament, the Florida Gators are the only top seed that made it into the Final Four.
Group that with the Gators' 30-game win streak, and there's no wonder the team is favored by six points against the UConn Huskies in one of the national semifinals on Saturday.
Here's a look at the most recent odds for Saturday's semifinal matchup, per Covers.com.
|UConn vs. Florida||Florida (-6)|
|Kentucky vs. Wisconsin||Kentucky (-1.5)|
Florida Retaking Its Biggest Tests
Even though its been almost four months since Florida lost a game, the last time it tasted defeat was against UConn.
On December 2, a last-second shot by Huskies star Shabazz Napier gave UConn a huge win over the Gators. Florida began its dominance over the college basketball world in the next game against Kansas.
Florida: 0-2 against Wisconsin and UConn, but 36-0 vs everyone else this season— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 31, 2014
As super as the Gators have been, ESPN Stats and Info points out that their opponent on Saturday, and a potential opponent in the national championship, has been their kryptonite.
Going back even further this season, the Gators dropped their only other game of the season against a team playing in the other national semifinal.
On November 12, the Wisconsin Badgers handed Florida a 59-53 defeat. The Badgers' Sam Dekker scored 16 points to help lead his squad to the win.
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It should be mentioned that the loss to Wisconsin came without Scottie Wilbekin. The senior guard has become the Gators' unquestioned leader on the perimeter. Draining big shots like the one he hit at the halftime buzzer against the Dayton Flyers in the Elite Eight has become commonplace.
Florida did sweep the season series against the Kentucky Wildcats, but two of the three games weren't easy. The Gators won the initial matchup by 10 points and the second by 19.
However, the meeting in the SEC tournament was a nail-biter. The maturing Wildcats showed glimpses of the brilliance we've seen in the NCAA tournament.
They nearly beat Florida but fell 61-60 on March 16.
If the odds for both games hold true, a fourth meeting between Kentucky and Florida would be epic.
Wisconsin Is Wound up and Ready
The Wildcats have to deal with a tough Wisconsin team that is also peaking at the right time.
Kentucky and Wisconsin play contrasting styles, but don't say that to Badgers head coach Bo Ryan.
Per Gregg Doyel of CBS Sports, Ryan gets a little testy when that type of distinction is made. During a press conference on Monday, Ryan said:
Bo: "Kentucky's trying to put the ball in the hole. We're trying to put the ball in the hole. We're trying to keep them from doing it...— Gregg Doyel (@GreggDoyelCBS) March 31, 2014
More Bo: "They're trying to keep us from doing it. I didn't know there were that many styles."— Gregg Doyel (@GreggDoyelCBS) March 31, 2014
Fair enough, Bo. However, per Hoop Math, the Badgers take only 16.7 percent of their initial shots at the rim in transition, while Kentucky is at 26.3 percent in the same category.
The Wildcats are a more athletic team that can benefit more from transition opportunities. That's more than likely where the whole contrasting styles thing comes from. But at the core, Ryan is right, the game will be won by the team that "puts the ball in the hole" more than the other.
Both semifinals games have the potential to be excellent contests.
In a tournament that has been so unpredictable, the college basketball world has to be ready for anything.
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