Most saw this coming, but it is still difficult to watch. In what may be the final time that the vaunted Florida Junior class plays together in Gainesville, the Gators took down the Wildcats by 13, 85-72. It was a game that showed the differences between these two teams, and more specifically, the ways in which Kentucky simply cannot matchup with this group of Gators. For one half, the Cats were able to hold their own offensively, thanks in large part to the continued resurgence of Bobby Perry. However the second half saw an early silly foul by Randolph Morris, and the offensive flow simply broke down. The Gators keyed on Perry, allowing him no points until a final, meaningless layup at the end. As has been the case much of the year, the Cats looked alternately stellar and pitiful on offense, and that is simply not enough to get it done on the defending champions’ home floor.
But the real story here is defense, and at this point, Kentucky has no answer for the way Florida plays offensively. Even in the first half, which some might suggest looked good because of the high score, Kentucky showed no ability to stop the Gators. The same problems still exist. Taurean Green simply cannot be contained by anyone on the team except Bradley….and not even always then. Green gets in the lane, our bigs collapse, he dishes, dunk by Noah or Horford. Corey Brewer is too tall for Crawford and too quick for Perry and thus causes us heartache, even when not scoring. Ryan Humphrey is such a good shooter that simply collapsing down low doesnt work. And Al Horford has shown that he is the true NBA stud on the team, becoming the only big man to consistently score on Randolph Morris all year.
This weekend worked out well on one level for Kentucky. When the Cats go to the SEC Tournament, they have the easiest road they could have hoped for to make the championship game, missing Tennessee or Florida along the way. However it is very likely that the Gators will be waiting for them in the finals, if they are lucky enough to make it. Kentucky has shown that on a given day, they could beat most teams in America. But it is becoming increasingly clear that Florida is not one of those teams….and thus the day these Juniors leave, should be one of the happiest days of the year in Lexington.