FLORIDA GATORS (22-2)
at KENTUCKY WILDCATS (19-5)
Rupp Arena - Lexington, KY
Tip-off: Saturday, 9:00 p.m. ET
Line: Kentucky -2, Total: 131
Undefeated in SEC play and winners of 16 straight, No. 3 Florida will face its toughest conference test as it travels to Lexington Saturday night to face No. 14 Kentucky.
Despite their SU success on the hardwood this season, the Gators are only 9-9-2 ATS with a 3-3-1 ATS mark on the road. Billy Donovanís squad is 5-6 ATS against SEC opponents, coming off a 67-58 victory (SU and ATS) victory against Tennessee on Tuesday as two-point favorites. Florida is also just 2-4 ATS coming off an ATS win. Kentucky has won four in a row SU (3-1 ATS in that span), improving its season-long mark to 11-11 ATS. That includes an 8-4 ATS record at home (14-0 SU) and 6-5 ATS against SEC opponents. The Wildcats have covered in their past three games at Rupp Arena, have dominated this series recently with a 10-3 SU (6-6-1 ATS) in the past 13 matchups with the Gators, with Florida's last win at Rupp Arena coming back in 2007.
Which SEC powerhouse will prevail on Saturday night? For the latest college basketball picks, check out The Platinum Sheet for all the StatFox Experts selections every week throughout the entire 2013-14 season. The StatFox Experts have been rolling in college basketball Best Bets this season with a 58% ATS (202-144-11) mark, including a hefty 61% ATS (170-110-6) record since Nov. 23. StatFox Brian is at 65% ATS (45-24-2) in Best Bets for the season and 69% ATS (38-17-1) since Nov. 26. StatFox Dave is 61% ATS (43-28-1) for the season and 67% ATS (26-13) since Dec. 18, while StatFox Scott is a strong 57% ATS (39-30-2) for the season and 58% ATS (29-21-2) since Dec. 2. StatFox Zach is a solid 55% ATS (37-30-4) on Best Bets this season, including 57% ATS (31-23-3) since Nov. 22, while StatFox Gary is 54% ATS (38-32-2) for the season, and 58% ATS (32-23) since Nov. 29.
Floridaís offensive numbers donít jump off the page with 71.2 PPG (181st in Div. I) on 46.1% shooting (85th in nation) with 13.0 APG (164th in Div. I). The Gators are much more frightening on the other end of the floor, where they keep opponents to 57.9 PPG (6th in Div. I) on 39.3% shooting (20th in nation). After SF Casey Prather (15.3 PPG, 5.3 RPG), two guards lead the team in scoring in PG Scottie Wilbekin (13.0 PPG, 3.7 APG) and SG Michael Frazier II (12.6 PPG). Those three players went a combined 4-of-15 from the field in last season's loss at Kentucky, turning it over four times and recording only two assists. Frazier has been aggressive lately though, hitting at least three treys in the teamís past seven games. C Patric Young (10.5 PPG, 6.4 RPG) is the teamís main big man, combining down low with Prather, PF Dorian Finney-Smith (9.4 PPG, 7.5 RPG) and SF Will Yeguete (5.5 PPG, 5.3 RPG) to create a nasty defensive unit.
Once again, Kentucky head coach John Calipari has assembled a strong group of freshmen. This yearís team ranks 34th nationally with 78.8 PPG on 46.8% shooting (60th in nation), helped out greatly by pulling down 41.9 RPG (7th in Div. I). Notably, the Wildcats average only 12.0 APG (242nd in Div. I). On the other end of the floor, they are just as prepared as the next group, giving up 66.3 PPG (74th in nation). PF Julius Randle (15.8 PPG, 9.9 PPG) is the teamís top player, a future top NBA Draft Pick, who has a nice feel for the ball. Three other freshmen round out the teamís double-digit scorers in SF James Young (14.1 PPG, 4.3 RPG), SG Aaron Harrison (13.8 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.2 APG) and PG Andrew Harrison (11.0 PPG, 3.5 APG). The quartet struggles a bit with turnovers, however, combining for 8.9 per game together. The unheralded key for this yearís team is C Willie Cauley-Stein (7.8 PPG, 6.4 RPG), who helps this team dominate on the glass and on the defensive end with 3.0 BPG.