March 2, 2012

NCAA Basketball Pick: Kentucky vs. Florida Preview

It isn’t often that we see a team run the table in conference play regardless of what conference they are in. However, the Kentucky Wildcats can get the job done if they can beat the college basketball odds on Sunday against the Florida Gators.

The truth of the matter is that there is nothing else that Kentucky has to do. At absolute worst, it will be the second No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and unless the Syracuse Orange go on to win the Big East Tournament next week, the Cats are probably going to be the top overall seed in the dance. There is certainly no way that we see them being anywhere but on the No. 1 line though, regardless of what happens in this one. The talent is just remarkable on this team, but if there is a problem, it is at the point guard spot. The bigs are going to be able to take down virtually any set of big men in the game, but the guards could have some problems against all of the little guys that the Gators are going to throw their way. Marquis Teague is averaging 9.7 points per game, but his assist to turnover ratio is less than 2 to 1, and that isn’t going to cut it in the dance. There is definitely a margin there for error, and if Teague and Darius Miller can’t successfully hang onto the basketball, someone could pick the Wildcats off.

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Florida really has nothing but seeding in the NCAA Tournament to play for, but it is still conceivable that it could get all the way up to the No. 2 line with a win in this one and perhaps an SEC Tournament title capped by a win over the Cats. The team hasn’t played its best ball of late, especially in a loss to the Vanderbilt Commodores, but this is probably a better matchup with all of the guards that it has to offer. Kenny Boynton and Bradley Beal know that it is go time for UF, and this is the time that the team has to really kick it into gear, and those are the two that are going to be knocking down the biggest shots if the Gators are to make a run, not just in the SEC Tournament, but in the NCAA Tournament as well. Keep a close eye on Patric Young, as he has a heck of a lot of pressure on him, especially in this game having to deal with either Anthony Davis or Terrence Jones. The Gators just don’t have enough big men, but if they are knocking down shots from the outside as they have the potential to do, they might force Head Coach John Calipari to use a smaller lineup than he is usually comfortable with.

The Final Word: The Gators were absolutely clocked when these two teams met in Lexington, but knowing that the pressure is off for the Cats, we wouldn’t be surprised to see them get upset. This is the game of the year to date for Florida, and at home against the perceived best team in the land, it will want to show that it has a shot to cut down the nets in a few weeks.

Kentucky Wildcats @ Florida Gators Pick: Florida Gators

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Adam Markowitz

is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.

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