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Feb 24, 2018; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators guard Jalen Hudson (3) celebrates as they beat the Auburn Tigers at Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Gameday Preview: Florida vs. No. 23 Kentucky

The Florida Gators are looking for their first regular season sweep of the Kentucky Wildcats since the 2013-2014 season. That year, Florida took down Kentucky three times over the course of 29 days en route to a Final Four appearance.

UF has swept UK just five times (1967, 1988, 2006, 2007, 2014) in program history. In the first meeting between the two teams this season, the Gators went into Rupp Arena and came out with a 66-64 victory. Saturday’s contest tips-off at 12 p.m. and can be seen on CBS with Ian Eagle and Jim Spanarkel on the call.

Projected Starters (Florida)

  1. Chris Chiozza (11.1 PPG, 6.1 APG, 4.6 RPG, 1.9 SPG, 42.5 % FG)
  2. KeVaughn Allen (11.3 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 2.1 APG, 33.3% 3P, 92.3 % FT)
  3. Jalen Hudson (15.4 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 45.7% FG, 40.8% 3P)
  4. Egor Koulechov (13.7 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 41.2% FG, 40.3% 3P, 88.6 % FT)
  5. Kevarrius Hayes (5.0 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 2.1 BPG, 1.0 SPG, 57.1 FG%)

Projected Starters (Kentucky)

  1. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (13.o PPG, 4.9 APG, 3.9 RPG, 47.6% FG, 39% 3P)
  2. Hamidou Diallo (10.7 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 42.1% FG, 34.3% 3P)
  3. Kevin Knox (15.8 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 45% FG, 35.5% 3P, 77.5% FT)
  4. Wenyen Gabriel (6.2 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.1 BPG, 42.4% FG, 33.8% 3P)
  5. Nick Richards (6.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 1.1 BPG, 61.3% FG)

X-Factor (Florida)

Florida was able to edge out Kentucky for the victory on January 20 by forcing turnovers and playing a quick, transition-oriented game. The Gators forced 17 turnovers, blocked 4 shots and came away with 6 steals. The Wildcats have the fifth-worst turnover percentage during conference play. They’re giving away the rock on 17.9% of possessions during SEC games.

X-Factor (Kentucky)

Jarred Vanderbilt only played 13 minutes during the first of two meetings. Since then, he’s emerged as a key contributor to the Wildcats’ defense and has proven to be one of the SEC’s top rebounders. Vanderbilt is averaging 9.5 points, 11 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game during Kentucky’s current 4-game win streak. He’s also grabbed 27 offensive boards over that span.

Injury Update

John Egbunu was officially ruled out for the year on Friday morning. He had a second knee procedure done by Dr. James Andrews on February 12 and will be out for at least 3 months. Egbunu, Egor Koulechov and Chris Chiozza will be honored on Senior night. Chiozza is one assist away from passing Erving Walker for the No. 1 spot on Florida’s all-time assists list.

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