John Calipari and Billy Donovan meet up for the fifth time since Calipari joined the conference in 2009. Kentucky is 3-2 against Florida over that span. Florida was swept last year by Kentucky. This year the teams split the season series with the home team winning each game. Florida is playing a team for the third time—an SEC East rival—that always plays them tough...this is old news for the Gators now.
Kentucky won the 2010 SEC championship in Calipari's first year with the Wildcats. Billy Donovan's Gators won this tournament three years in a row, 2005-2007.
Joe Lunardi has Kentucky as a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament right now. They're slotted to play Morehead State in Tampa, FL.
The Gators are looking at a No. 3 seed in Tampa against Long Island with an outside shot to move up to a No. 2 seed. If the Gators win the SEC championship game that means they will have gone 8-1 against Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Kentucky. That's deserving of a No. 2 seed if you ask me.
No. 16 Kentucky, 24-8 (10-6 SEC)
In Lexington, on Feb. 26 the Wildcats defeated the Gators 76-68 to remain undefeated at home. Darius Miller registered 24 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals. Billy Donovan called him one of the most complete players in the league.
In the postgame press conference last night, John Calipari said that Brandon Knight played like the best PG in the country against Alabama.
He had to answer questions about keeping his starters in late. Calipari only works with a six-man rotation but it is a good six-man rotation. He mentioned his whole team was getting better.
He singled out Josh Harrellson and DeAndre Liggins as players that have a special place in his heart because of their hard work and where they came from as far as development.
No. 12 Florida, 26-6 (13-3 SEC)
Florida beat Kentucky, 70-68 in front of a record crowd in Gainesville on Feb. 5. Over 12,630 packed into the O'Dome to watch Chandler Parson score 17 points with 12 rebounds and five assists in a last-second thriller. Brandon Knight missed a three as time expired that would have won the game.
In the SEC men's semifinal game against the Commodores, Billy Donovan praised Vanderbilt's aggressiveness in the postgame news conference after Florida's win. Donovan singled out Kenny Boynton's defense on John Jenkins. The Florida guards gave the team a spark.
Billy Donovan highlighted the fact that Florida has already played in a few championship-like games, and likes his team's experience heading into the SEC championship game and beyond.
I think Florida really lights it up in this game. I say they win in in a high-scoring affair, 88-78.