Date and Time: Saturday, February 15th, 2014 9:00 PM EST on ESPN

Game Line: Kentucky +3 Game Total (Over/Under): 130 (from JustBet)

Saturday NCAABB analysis: The two top teams in the SEC clash in Rupp Arena as the Kentucky Wildcats host the Florida Gators.

Kentucky (19-5) comes into Saturday’s contest winners of 7 of their last 8 games. They had a bit of a slip up in late January, losing at LSU 87-82, but have won 4 straight since. The young Wildcats have on win this year against a top 25 ranked opponent, defeating Louisville 73-66. They have lost to other ranked opponents they’ve faced, with the likes of Michigan State, previously ranked Baylor and North Carolina. Kentucky is led by freshman sensation Julius Randle, who leads the team in scoring and rebounding. The Wildcats average 78.8 ppg while shooting 46.8% from the field, however they are at the bottom half of the conference in assist to turnover ratio (1.00). The Wildcats are one of the better teams in the country on the glass, averaging 41.9 rebounds per contest and have a rebound margin of 10.3 per game. Defensively they are limiting opponents to 39.5% shooting, and are tops in the conference in blocked shots.

There’s a reason why the Florida Gators (22-2) are currently listed at 6/1 to win the NCAA championship. The Gators have won 16 games in a row since being upended by UConn back in early December, and are playing like one of the elite teams in the country. The Gators are averaging 71.2 ppg while shooting 46.8% from the field with an assist to turnover ratio of 1.13. They aren’t the best rebounding team, averaging 37 per game. Defensively they are one of the best in the country, allowing 57.9 ppg and limiting opponents to 39.3% shooting from the field.

I have to take the points in this one. I like Kentucky, I think they’re very talented, but they are also very young. The Wildcats are starting 5 freshman compared to the 4 seniors that are starting for Florida. I don’t think the Wildcats will be able to handle the full court pressure that Florida brings, and although the Wildcats have improved on defense, they’ve still had problems when it comes to defensive transition. Kentucky has the weapons on the offensive end, but this will be the best defensive team they’ve faced. The Gators haven’t won in Rupp Arena in 6 years, but I think their size in the frontcourt and their experience will be too much to handle. I’ll take the points with Florida, as I think they will prove they are the team to beat in the SEC.

Florida Gators at Kentucky Wildcats Free NCAABB pick: Florida +3 Under 130

Florida Gators at Kentucky Wildcats Game Prediction: Florida 65 Kentucky 61

 

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