With their seven point win over the Tennessee Volunteers on Saturday, the top ranked Florida Gator men’s basketball team gains its first opportunity to play for an SEC Tournament championship since 2007. The Gators will face off against the Kentucky Wildcats who won their way into the championship with a 12 point win over the Georgia Bulldogs Saturday.
With a similar story to their win on Saturday, the Gators will be looking to beat the Wildcats for the third time this season. With a win on Sunday, Florida would be the first team to beat the Wildcats three times in a season since the Volunteers did it back in 1979.
One thing the Gators will desperately be trying to avoid on Sunday is another lackluster start. Against both the Missouri Tigers and Volunteers, the Gators started slow, unable to find anything offensively. Against the Volunteers the Gators found themselves down by double digits early, which was their largest deficit dating all the way back to Wisconsin back in November.
The Gators found themselves down seven at the half and assistant head coach John Pelfrey talked about the issues the Florida was plagued with in the first 20 minutes.
?We had to battle foul trouble in the first half and Tennessee did a really good job of guarding us. We were never able to get into any sort of flow,? Pelphrey said.
One of the few bright spots in the first half was a 3 ball from senior guard Scottie Wilbekin at the buzzer that reduced Florida’s halftime deficit to seven points and the Gators used that momentum to get back in the game in the second half. ?As they have done many times this year and in the SEC tournament, the Gators were dynamic in the second half. On Friday the Gators outscored the Tigers 43-20 in the second half and on Saturday they outscored the Volunteers 28-14.
Having the top defense in the SEC gives the Gators an advantage in every contest but Kentucky will try to make a statement against the number one team in the nation in their second home of Catlanta.
With their win over the Volunteers many have said the Gators have locked up the number one overall seed for the NCAA tournament but Gator coach Billy Donovan said his team will always give their best.
?We?re always trying to win, I think anytime you?re playing in a conference tournament there?s always excitement with the chance to move on and there will be something for us to gain from tomorrow?s game just like there was today.?
The Gators will be looking their fourth SEC championship and the chance to extend their school record winning streak to a whopping 26 games.
You can hear all the action of tomorrow?s game on Country 103-7 The Gator with coverage starting at 2:35 followed by tip at 3:15.
For more comments on the SEC tournament from head coach Billy Donovan and assistant coach John Pelfrey click on the links below: