Lost in all of the excitement today is Kentucky’s game with Florida in Rupp Arena tomorrow afternoon. Normally we’d spend the better part of our Friday previewing the game ahead, but today called for the critiquing of uniforms and laughing at Louisville.
But I’m still going strong here at the KSR office, approaching my 14th hour in front of the computer today, and I won’t call it quits until we chat a little bit about the game. So join me in going over some of the things you should know about the Florida Gators. Then after that I’m going airplane mode and disappearing into the night. It’s been long one.
Florida has scored 80 or more points in five of its last six games.
Florida has won five of its last six and it score over 80 points in all five of those victories. The one loss came at Vanderbilt, arguably the second toughest place to play in the conference, and Vandy needed two clutch free throws to clinch it in the final seven seconds.
Needless to say, Florida is coming in hot and playing well over the last three weeks.
The Gators are one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country.
Today John Calipari said, “Let me say this, the best rebounding team in our league offensively is Florida.”
He’s almost right. Florida is third in the conference behind South Carolina and Kentucky in offensive rebounds per game:
1. South Carolina: 14.7
2. Kentucky: 13.7
3. Florida: 13.6
Still not something we want to hear with the Cats’ struggles on the glass. Kentucky is No. 10 in the league in defensive rebounds per game.
It has been 18 years since an unranked Florida team defeated a ranked Kentucky team at Rupp Arena.
You’ll have to go way back to 1998 when Jason Williams and Kenyan Weaks combined for 48 points to take down seventh-ranked Kentucky.
Speaking of 1998…
Mike White hasn’t coached in Rupp Arena, but he’s played in it.
The Gators’ new head coach scored 16 points and had six assists against the Wildcats in 1998 as a starter for Ole Miss. The Rebels won that game, upsetting the eventual national champion, 73-64, on its own floor.
Dorian Finney-Smith is still there.
And not only is he still there, he is the team’s star player. Finney-Smith currently averages 15.1 points and 8.2 rebounds on the year, and has notched a double-double in five of the last eight games.
He’s also one of the SEC’s best free-throw shooters.
Freshman KeVaughn Allen can fill it up.
Florida’s second-leading scorer, Allen has games of 32 and 27 points this season. He was named SEC Freshman of the Week this week with an average of 17.5 point per game in the Gators’ wins over Vanderbilt and No. 9 West Virginia.
Now you know about the Gators and knowledge is power.