KSTV Kentucky Florida Predictions
02/12/2013 12:47 PM
Now that Thomas Beisner is back from a mini-Florida vacation, the KSTV team is back together. Just in time to predict tonight’s Kentucky-Florida game!
February 5, 2011. That’s the last – and only – time Florida coach Billy Donovan has beaten John Calipari’s Kentucky basketball team, leaving one lonely win alongside seven losses. There’s some symmetry between that game and the contest tonight as UK enters the O’Connell Center with a 17-6 record (they were 16-5 in 2011) and still trying to form their own identity in the shadow of the previous year. But unlike 2011, the Cats appear to be on the upswing and they’re far from one-dimensional as Willie Cauley-Stein has sent a jolt of life into the team and the offense looks to be gelling under the not-so-defined arms of Kyle Wiltjer. For all of the struggles UK has encountered this season, only tonight’s game with the Gators, one of the nation’s most complete teams, stands between UK and first place in the SEC. If Kentucky can turn up the defensive pressure and force Florida to settle for jumpers, they’re halfway to victory. The dicier part of the equation is being smart with the basketball on offense, which means all eyes on Archie Goodwin once again. If Archie truly has the swagger he says he does and it’s not just talk, it will shine through tonight against, possibly, the best backcourt in the nation. And I’m the president of the Archie Goodwin Apologist Club, you know I’m not going to stop believing now.
Kentucky 84, Florida 79.
Not a surprising statement, but this will be the biggest game the Cats have played this year. No more excuses. It’s the moment of truth about where Kentucky is as a team and how far they’ve come in the past few weeks. Expect a low-scoring contest, so Kentucky needs to limit turnovers and fast break points. Leaving it to Noel and company to keep the Gators from getting easy baskets in the halfcourt will be the key on defense. Offensively, BE SMART, Kentucky! Continue to develop the dribble drive motion and simply make the easy play. It will be close down the stretch, but if Kentucky gets the majority of “50/50” balls and wins the rebound battle, Kentucky wins by 5.
Kentucky 68, Florida 63
This is a game I really wish I had a crystal ball for because it really could go either way. Kentucky has to actively choose to play to their potential the entire game, not just the first half. The biggest factor will be guard play: what version of Harrow and Goodwin show up in Gainesville? I think UK is fully capable of beating Florida and it wouldn’t shock me if they did, but I’m picking the Gators on this one.
Kentucky 69, Florida 74
This team seems determined to prove me wrong. Kentucky beats South Carolina by 20 when I predict a six-point win, and the Cats escape the Tigers in a shaky, physical game when I predict a 26-point victory. If this continues to be the case as Kentucky takes on Florida in Gainesville tonight, I predict a 10-point loss to the Gators. Archie Goodwin improves and is a key contributor for the Cats in the paint, but Florida just outplays this young Kentucky team as the guards are way over-matched. Now, it’s your move, Kentucky, and I sure hope you prove me wrong tonight.
Kentucky 62, Florida 72
A tall task awaits the UK Wildcats as they take on the powerful Florida Gators in Gainesville. Earlier this year Florida looked almost invincible crushing opponents on their home court by an average of 23 points. A big bump occurred in and on the road when the Arkansas Razorbacks thumped the Gators by double digits at Fayetteville last week, so they are certainly beatable. I just don’t think it’s going happen for the Cats to come home with a victory. Oddsmakers have UK a double digit underdog and that rarely happens, but it does reflect what everyone sees about this Calipari team —they are young and just unable to focus for an entire 40 minutes. That can be fatal against a Florida team which is ranked 2nd in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency and 3rd in offensive efficiency. My heart cries otherwise, but my head says Florida gets the win.
Kentucky 61, Florida 74
The Cats are heading down to the swamp where it’s warm and slimy so that means Kentucky will have a tough time winning. I think they will do well but come up short. This is a game where Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress both play well. One gets 15 and another gets 12. Nerlens gets into foul trouble this game and Cauley-Stein will have a big game grabbing four blocks and 12 points along with 10 boards! Still, UK gets their 5 game winning streak snapped by the Gators.
Kentucky 65, Florida 73