The No.8 Kentucky Wildcats are hoping to remain at the top of the SEC rankings after they play the No.24 Florida Gators on Saturday night. Kentucky is coming off of a 90-81 win over the Georgia Bulldogs.
The Wildcats and the Gators are big SEC rivalry with the Wildcats leading the series 99-37 all time. The Wildcats have dominated the Gators these past few seasons with the Gators not winning a single game against Kentucky since 2014, which was the year the Gators won the SEC Championship and they made a final four appearance.
The Gators have been on a win streak recently with three games and the Gators have beaten their opponents by at least 30 points in the past few games.
There will also be a familiar matchup on Saturday between the Gators leader in points, KeVaughn Allen, a Little Rock, Arkansas native and Kentucky’s guard Malik Monk. Monk who leads the Wildcats with 22.4 points per game is also a native of Arkansas hailing from the town of Lepanto. Allen and Monk faced off in the 2015 Arkansas 7A State Championship game in 2015. Allen scored 28 points to lead his North Little Rock team to victory over Monk’s Bentonville squad. Monk had 25 points and nine rebound in that game.
The tension. The shot. The relief. The triumph.
We love this game. pic.twitter.com/29KdCkxGWv
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) February 1, 2017
Monk is a very crucial member to this Kentucky team. Once he gets comfortable he sets into a rhythm, and it’s hard to stop him.
One thing that is up in the air for Kentucky is if crucial members of their team will even play on Saturday. Mychal Molder, a senior guard who is very versatile off the bench has been sick with the flu. Sacha Killeva-Jones has also been sick with the flu and De’Aaron Fox hasn’t practiced much this week either.
It will be a game time decision if these players will play. Kentucky remains at the top of the league and is a very fast paced playing team and Kentucky radio analyst Mike Pratt says the Wildcats need to “value each position”. Another thing the Wildcats need to do is to make up for their defense. “Their defense hasnt been in great numbers like Calipari teams have,” Pratt says.
If everyone is healthy the UK-UF matchup should be one of the biggest dogfights in the SEC.
Kentucky and Florida face off on Saturday at 8:15 P.M in Gainesville. The game will be televised on ESPN and will be aired on ESPN Gainesville 98.1 beginning at 7:40.
Derek Willis on playing at Florida: "I would say it's the hardest place to play in. The fans are right on top of you."
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) February 3, 2017