UK Closes Out Regular Season at Florida

March 3, 2012

The Wildcats closed out their third straight perfect season at home, going 18-0 for the second time in two years with a 79-49 win over the Georgia Bulldogs on Senior Night.

Gameday Information
Kentucky at Florida
Sun., Mar. 4 - 12:00 p.m. ET
Gainesville, Fla.
Game Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader | UF Get Acrobat Reader
Radio: UK IMG
Live Video via CBS
Live Audio
Text Updates

Kentucky hit a season-high 15 3-pointers, the most since canning 15 against East Tennessee State in the 2010 NCAA Tournament.

Darius Miller led the way with a team-high 17 points on a season-high five 3-pointers. Miller has hit 12 3-pointers in the last four games.

Doron Lamb (13) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (12) also scored in double-figures for Kentucky. Anthony Davis and Terrence Jones both grabbed eight rebounds while Marquis Teague dished out four of the Wildcats' 16 assists.

Scouting Report

Located in Gainesville, Fla. (717 miles south of Lexington), Florida enters the SEC finale in a tie with Vanderbilt for the second spot in the SEC Tournament.

Florida has four players averaging double-figures, led by Kenny Boynton's 17.1 ppg. Joining Boynton are Bradley Beal (14.7), Erving Walker (12.6) and Patric Young (10.1).

The Gators are coached by the 2011 SEC Coach of the Year, Billy Donovan, who is 417-175 including a 382-153 mark at Florida. Donovan's 25 NCAA tournament victories at Florida more than triple the number of NCAA Tournament games UF had won in school history prior to his arrival.

Prior to his stop in Gainesville, Donovan served as an assistant coach at UK from 1990-94. He was head coach at Marshall from 1995-96.

Series History

Kentucky owns a 91-33 (.734) record in the alltime series, including a 32-22 (.593) mark in Gainesville.

The Wildcats have won three straight against the Gators including a win in the SEC Tournament Championship game last season.

Kentucky has won seven of the last nine meetings after dropping seven straight in a streak that stretched from the 2005 to the 2008 seasons.

Pre-Florida Media Opportunity - Mar. 3, 2012

On the opportunity to go undefeated in the league …
“Every game has its own importance for this program.  We treat every game the same so it doesn’t matter who we are playing it is treated the same way. We will approach this game like every other game. One way you look at it is that it has no bearing on anything. Will we show up and play or will we let go of the game? We are going to find out about our guys. My thing is that you just want them to compete and if that is not good enough (that’s fine). Florida could come in and make 25 3s on you. If they come in and make 25 3s then alright we are going to the tournament as a one seed.”

On wanting to make history by going undefeated …
“I don’t think I have ever talked about making history. I would like to make history to take our home-winning streak to 12 years. Here (at Kentucky), there is no setting records. You try to be the best team you can be and establish the excellence of a program. We are playing Florida, a terrific basketball team and a ranked basketball team on the road. It is going to be very hard for us to win. We know that. I am more concerned about my team. We have gotten better now let’s see what we do with our last true road game. The rest of the games this season will be at neutral sites and we will have our share of fans.”

On taking Anthony Davis off the first team some during practice …
“It has worked out well two ways. One way, Anthony (Davis) gets to play the four position, which you saw him pop out and hit a 3. The second side of it is that it is giving us an awareness of, ‘Hey Terrence (Jones), you have to be him. You have to block more shots and do more stuff.”

On Dance Blue going on in Memorial Coliseum and the team making an appearance …
“I didn’t even know that is going on to be honest with you, but that is a great thing that our students do. We just sent the team over to cheer them on. It is a really neat thing and they raise a lot of money for a lot of good things. It is one of the highlights for our students.”

On heading into tournament play and the added length to TV timeouts, halftimes, etc., and if that affects the team …
“In the NCAA Tournament you have like 10 minutes to walk to your locker room so some of it is that and you need more time. People want to talk about our bench; I am almost like, ‘Man, are you wanting to grab anything.’ I have two players that come off the bench and score 25 points. If there is any other team in the country that has two players that can come off the bench and score 25 points tell me who they are. Maybe it’s Syracuse, maybe it’s Ohio State, I don’t know who it is. But those two (Darius Miller, Kyle Wiltjer) can score 25 points. You talk about our 3-point shooting. We don’t rely on it, yet, we are one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the league. If we make 15, then we are going to beat you by 30. If we make five, then it appears we are going to beat you anyway. All I am trying to do is see how good we can be as a team, how much better we can be individually. Can we get in better shape? Can we get a little stronger? I am really trying to encourage these guys and I will say it again, one of the things I have said is that if we win then you are going to get all the credit. Each one of you are going to share in the glory and benefit in that success. And if we get beat, then it will be on me and I will take full responsibility. Just go play, go get better. I am not going to blame anybody. I’m not going to blame an official or blame a player. I have been through it now. In 2008, we lost and I took responsibility. I said, ‘You guys were great and that was me.’ I am going to do the same now. We are going to play it out and try to get these kids in the greatest frame of mind we can. This game here is a hard one, tough game.”

On if he has seen any signs that the team feels some pressure …
“No, I haven’t. But part of it is that two weeks ago I began the mantra that, ‘You guys are fine, just go play.’ I told them yesterday that over 100 practices I can’t remember a bad practice. DeWayne (Peevy) told me about this BPI, which I had never heard of, and (it measures) efficiency of teams. We are No. 1 in that and we have been so consistent all year it’s been amazing. In the last five years they have been doing it I have had two teams that have been No. 1 in it. The 2008 team was the No. 1 BPI team. No game is more important and you are trying to get them to play every game out. It is really, really hard. But that is the challenge and that is what we are trying to do.”

On how the injury to Will Yeguete affects them …
“That hurts them, that hurts them. Because they have to go small, which in another sense could help them, because now they could have five 3-point shooters on the floor if Erik (Murphy) is at the five. I want you to think about that, all five guys can shoot 3s. So in one way it hurts them, but it also helps them. He is that guy off the bench that was physical and could so some things. It is just unfortunate for the kid; I wish he didn’t get injured.”

On what he liked from looking at the tape from the win Thursday night vs. Georgia …
“There was a lot of good. I thought that we shared the ball. Three of our turnovers out of eight were a shot-clock violation, a lazy pass by Marquis (Teague) and look-away pass by Terrence (Jones) and those were all late. When you look at it, for us to play the way we did and we defended and talked and made it hard for them and rebounded. We did a lot of good stuff. The breakdown tape yesterday there wasn’t a whole lot of stuff I could show them. I picked out some stuff like how a guy went and got water and this guy wasn’t cheering on the bench, but it was hard to pick out stuff.”

On tomorrow being the last true road game and if there is a feeling that this is a throw-away game …
“I hope not. It is a pride game. Let’s figure out what we are. I let them know that it would be a physical game and that they would in all likelihood come out and be physical. They will play at their best and they will be so hyped and the building will be sold out. I don’t know if it is cup day, bat day, ball day, whatever it is. I imagine it is some day. Family night or senior night, whatever it is, it will be a hyped game.”

On if they are preparing for anything unexpected like West Virginia’s 1-3-1 two years ago …
“We have faced everything. We have faced it all. What happened in that game is we went 0-for-20 from the 3-point line and they were good. They had played in Syracuse a few different times before and had an advantage over us and for them to be the last two, or whatever you want to say, was unfortunate for us. I guess the luck of the draw as they would tell you. We were prepared but if you go 0-for-20 you aren’t supposed to win.”

On if there is any weakness he sees in his team right now …
“We are just trying to get better. You can go have a bad 3-point shooting night, a bad free-throw shooting night, get in foul trouble. There are all kinds of things. It is just one-and-done right now. Fate intervenes and all of a sudden that is a foul and that is foul and Anthony (Davis) you are done sit down. There is a close call and it goes against you twice. You get the seeds and look at the draw and say, ‘Oh my gosh, they let the Lakers in. I don’t think they can have the Lakers in there.’ It is fate. It intervenes in what you are doing here. All I am trying to do is say that we are in the best frame of mind and physically ready to go. Let’s go play the game and whatever happens is going to happen at this point. It is one game. It is not best of five or seven. Historically, I have had my teams ready for the challenge of that march and it is truly a march now. It is not just, ‘OK, play a game and yay.’ No, the first game is hard. Think about us last year, we had a pretty darn good team and played Princeton and were lucky to win. We won on a bank shot.”

On him thinking through as many contingency plans as he can to get them as prepared as possible …
“Yeah, but there are things that are going to happen that you aren’t prepared for. Do you ever think your team is going to go 0-for-20 from 3-point line. Then what do you do if they do? You say, ‘You can make it just keep shooting.’ Then they keep shooting and the balls keep bonking (off the rim). Stuff happens. Then you say, ‘We are good, get fouled and we will make the free throws.’ And you go 1-for-5. What is your solution? Put your best free-throw shooters on the line, they were. They were and they missed too. Guard these guys. It happens. My thing is to just get my team as prepared as we can be and let it go and see what happens.”

#3 Terrence Jones, F, So.

On the possibility of having an unbeaten conference record …
“We are just taking it one game at a time. We are really just worried about beating Florida knowing that they are a good team, especially at home. It would just mean that we are a step closer to larger goals that we want accomplish.”

On possibly playing center if Anthony Davis were to get into foul trouble …
“Coach told us that he wanted us to be ready for any situation. He’s just been thinking and getting us prepared. I’m still learning the position, but its fun learning it and getting prepared.”

On what makes Anthony Davis so good …
“Just how long he is. He can rebound, block shots, and shoot the ball well. Mainly how long he is and how well he uses his length.”

On preparing for the postseason this year compared to last …
“I think there is less pressure on every player. Every player we have can step up and bring something to the table. Not everything is depending on one player because we have so many players on this team that do something for us.”

#25 Marquis Teague, G, Fr.

On the growth of the team throughout the season …
“We are a lot different. We are sharing the ball with each other better, talking more, playing more physical, executing our plays, and doing what Coach Cal wants us to do at a high level.”

On if Anthony Davis is the player of the year in college basketball …
“To me I think he is. The whole team thinks he is. He dominates every game and never has a bad game.”

On defending the 3-point shot against Florida …
“We just want to contest their shots with high hands, try to pressure them, and force them into taking tough shots. We know they are going to make some but we just want to make it hard as possible for them.”

On playing Florida on their Senior Day …
“We know that they are going to come out ready. They are going to want to get their seniors a win for their last game. We know that we are going to have to come out and play harder than them.”

#30 Eloy Vargas, F, Sr.

On the importance of depth in March and being ready to play …
“It’s pretty important coming into March because you don’t know how many fouls they (starters) may get, so there’s a chance we have to step up and be ready to come into the game.”

On the difference in opponents during the post-season …
“It doesn’t really matter to us because we have to go one game at a time.”

On the difference in preparing for the tournament this year as opposed to last year …
“This year is not a lot different than last year because every time we play someone we have to be ready.  The right thing to do is focus on the games and play hard.”