NCAAB Betting Preview: Florida at Kentucky

By: Brad Young | Thursday, February 24, 2011

Florida’s victory over Kentucky on Feb. 5 was the Gators’ ninth win in the last 13 meetings

March Madness is just around the corner, and there is a quality Southeastern Conference matchup on Saturday’s schedule when 13th-ranked Florida (21-5 straight up, 9-13 against the spread) visits 22nd-ranked Kentucky (19-8 SU, 10-12 ATS).

The Gators currently sit atop the SEC East Division standings by 2 ½ games over second-place Vanderbilt, while the Wildcats are tied for fourth.

There are currently six SEC teams projected to reach the NCAA Tournament, and a winning streak down the stretch of the regular season will definitely improve tournament seeding.  Florida continues to battle SEC West leader Alabama for the top seed in the upcoming SEC Tournament.  The Gators are projecting to be around a three seed in the Big Dance, but there is still plenty of basketball to be played before the NCAA Tournament tips off.

Florida is riding a five-game SU winning streak heading into Thursday’s home matchup with Georgia.  The Gators continued their winning ways by upending Louisiana State Sunday as a 10 ½-point road ‘chalk,’ 68-61.

The combined 129 points eclipsed the 121-point closing total, helping the ‘over’ improve to 3-1 the past four performances.

Florida cruised after opening a 15-point halftime advantage, 40-25, and improved to 7-1 SU this season when playing on the road.  The Gators controlled the boards, 36-25, but the Tigers delivered more assists, 13-7.  Florida finished the contest by shooting 46 percent (25-of-55) from the field, and 31 percent (4-of-13) from 3-point land.

Guards Kenny Boynton (17 points) and Erving Walker (17, four rebounds) paced the offense, while center Vernon Macklin added 16 and seven.  Forward Alex Tyus also aided in the triumph with six and nine.

Kentucky had its brief two-game SU winning streak halted with Wednesday’s overtime setback to Arkansas as a seven-point road favorite, 77-76.  The combined 153 points toppled the 140 ½-point closing total, helping the ‘over’ cash the fourth consecutive contest.

The Wildcats are now just 2-6 ATS their past eight outings.

Kentucky finished the game with advantages in rebounding (43-35) and assists (10-7), while shooting 42 percent (30-of-71) from the field but just 16 percent (3-of-19) from behind the arc.  Coach John Calipari’s team is now just 1-6 SU in conference road games, but an unblemished 6-0 at Rupp Arena.

Guard Brandon Knight scored a season-high 26 points along with eight rebounds in the loss, while forward Josh Harrellson added 12 and 14.  Guard Darius Miller provided 13 and eight, while DeAndre Liggins had 13 and five.

Florida dispatched Kentucky Feb. 5 as a one-point home underdog, 70-68, while the combined 138 points eclipsed the 134-point closing total.  Senior forward Chandler Parsons stepped up with 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Gators.  The Wildcats’ Knight finished with 24, five and four assists, but he missed a forced 3-pointer at the buzzer that would have won the game.  Coach Billy Donovan’s team is now 9-4 SU the previous 13 games against Kentucky.

Florida forward Chandler Parsons is ‘probable’ versus the Wildcats due to an injured hip.  The Gators wrap up their regular season with a home game against Alabama before traveling to Vanderbilt.

Kentucky concludes its regular season with a home game against Vanderbilt and a road contest at Tennessee.

CBS Sports will provide coverage of Saturday’s matchup beginning at 1:00 p.m. PT from Kentucky’s Rupp Arena.

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