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Wildcats battle Gators for top spot in men's hoops

By on February 12th, 2013

Battle for SEC supremacy is set to tipoff tonight in a Top 25 matchup as the Gators welcome the Kentucky Wildcats to town. Florida is looking to remain perfect at home as they‘re currently 11-0 and sitting atop of the SEC standings. Kentucky leads the all-time series against the Gators 93-33, and they're 13-22 against head coach Billy Donovan.

However, at home under Donovan, UF is 9-7 in the series and 22-33 against the Cats in Gainesville. Kentucky has won their last five games, resulting in them landing No. 25 in the Associated Press Poll. Florida head coach Billy Donovan talked about the type of group the Wildcats are.

So far on the season, the Gators have played defense extremely well. The team has held three opponents to under 40 points, 11 to under 50 and 16 under 60 points. By allowing teams to score on average around 52 points per game, it ranks them fourth in the nation in scoring defense.

Offensively, the Gators have been productive as well. They've shot the ball 50 percent or better in nine of their last 12 games; ranking them seventh in the nation in field goal percentage. Senior guard Kenny Boynton leads the team in scoring with 13 points per game, followed by senior forward Erik Murphy with 12 PPG on 56 percent shooting from the floor and 49 percent from the three point line.

With junior forward Will Yeguete out for the remainder of the regular season, lack of depth has become a concern for Florida, especially now facing a Wildcat team that ranks No. 23 in the nation in rebounding. UK has five players scoring in double figures led by senior guard Archie Goodwin with 14 PPG, while freshman forward Alex Poythress follows with 12 PPG on 60 percent shooting from field.

Freshman forward Nerlens Noel leads the team in rebounding with nine a game and has 103 blocked shots so far this season, which is the most in the NCAA. Gators coach Billy Donovan praised the type of player Noel is for Kentucky.

A victory over the Cats would give the Gators their 20th win on the season, marking their 15th straight 20 win season, all coming under head coach Billy Donovan. Only Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim have longer active streaks of 20 win seasons. Also, Kenny Boynton is expected to make his 128th start. That will tie Andrew DeClerq for the most in Gators history.

Be sure to catch all the live coverage right here on ESPN Radio 850/900 starting at 6:25.


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