Kentucky hopes to bounce back this week when it travels to Florida for a Super Tuesday battle with the Gators on ESPN. Tip off is scheduled for 9:05 p.m. ET. The Wildcats have won four-straight against UF and six of their last seven.
The Wildcats saw their 10-game SEC road win streak snapped Saturday, losing to Vanderbilt 66-60 in Memorial Gym. The game saw UK trail by 12 early (its largest deficit of the season) and lead by as many as 10 in the second half. The Commodores held Kentucky scoreless for the final three minutes of the game to secure the victory.
The Florida game marks UK’s fourth road contest in the past five games. The Cats have not lost consecutive SEC games since Jan. 5 and 9, 2002 (vs. Mississippi State and Georgia).
The Florida Gators
Florida enters the contest with a 13-5 record overall, 4-3 in the SEC, but has dropped three of its last five games, including a 63-65 loss at Tennessee on Saturday. The Gators have earned conference wins over South Carolina, Tennessee, Auburn and Alabama. UF’s other two conference losses came at the hands of Vanderbilt and Mississippi State.
Anthony Roberson, the 2003 SEC Freshman of the Year, leads his team in scoring with 16.7 ppg, which ranks sixth in the conference. David Lee, the team’s leading rebounder at 7.3 per game, also scores 15.1 points a game, while Matt Walsh averages 14.1 per contest.
Billy Donovan is in his eighth year at Florida, holding a 162-78 (.675) record. The former UK assistant coached at Marshall for two seasons as well, bringing his career record to 197-98 (.668).
Series HistoryThis is the 105th meeting between the two teams, with UK owning an 80-24 advantage. Kentucky holds a 29-16 lead in Gainesville and has won its last two there. UK won the first meeting, 44-36 in Lexington on Jan. 3, 1927. The Cats won 21 of the first 22 meetings, winning 18-straight from 1942-64. After splitting the season meetings four years in a row from 1997-98 through 2000-01, UK has swept the Gators each of the last two years. The Cats have won six of the last seven meetings. Tubby Smith is 12-4 overall against Florida, including an 8-4 mark at Kentucky. Billy Donovan is 4-12 against the Cats, including a 4-10 at Florida.
Wildcat-Gator ConnectionsBoth Tubby Smith and Billy Donovan coached at Kentucky under Rick Pitino. They were on Pitino’s first staff (1989-90) - Smith as an assistant, Billy as a graduate assistant. The next year, Smith served as Pitino’s associate coach. Smith left to become head coach at Tulsa after two seasons at UK, while Donovan stayed on the UK staff for five years before accepting the head coaching job at Marshall. UK freshman Bobby Perry hails from Durham, N.C., the same hometown as Florida’s Mario Boggan. Boggan attended Southern Durham High School before finishing his high school days at Oak Hill Academy. Kentucky’s Cliff Hawkins also is an Oak Hill grad.