February 12, 2013
Three things to watch as Kentucky travels to Florida, where a win would give the Wildcats the SEC lead.
1) 3-pointers. Florida will take them, no matter what UK may try to do. The Gators have attempted at least 17 threes in every game since their fifth game. For a high-volume shooting team, Florida is accurate, too. Only six times this year have they shot under 35 percent, and only once have they shot under 30 percent.
The Gators are pretty dependent on threes -- 35.5 percent of their points come from behind the line, one of the highest proportions in the country. If the Wildcats can limit outside shots and contest those Florida does take -- or if the Gators just have a cold game -- it would completely swing the game.
2) Turnovers. Kentucky is unlikely to gain an edge in this department because they're one of the worst teams in the nation at creating turnovers, and Florida is one of the best at taking care of the ball.
But the Wildcats have to avoid it being a huge disadvantage, which is a strong possibility. Florida creates a turnover on 23 percent of possessions, the 34th-highest rate in the country. UK is usually a good ballhandling team, but they've had some problems in SEC play with taking care of the ball (13.9 per game). The Cats need to withstand the pressure to maximize their opportunities in a game where every one will matter.
3) Interior play. Both teams are elite at both two-point percentage (Florida ranks No. 2 nationally, Kentucky is No. 10) and two-point defense (Florida is No. 3, UK is No. 6). But the Gators are missing an important piece in 6-foot-7 Will Yuguete, who was a solid complement to Patric Young inside. Without him, the Gators' frontcourt is thin -- and, potentially, something UK may be able to take advantage of on drives and post-ups.