Kentucky vs. Florida Preview
Posted by ibleedblue040 on January 12, 2010
Tuesday night there is no question that Kentucky will face its toughest road test so far this season. For about three games per year the O’Connell Center in Gainesville can get rowdy and there is no question that the annual game against UK is one of those games.
Florida is coming off a loss in their SEC opener at Vanderbilt and has lost 4 of their last 7 games including losses to Richmond (“neutral site” in Florida) and South Alabama at home in back-to-back contests.
Erving Walker vs. John Wall
The Verne Troyer of college hoops is averaging just over 11 ppg this season and is coming off his top scoring effort of the season against Vandy (22). Although just a sophomore, Mini-Me is leading the team in minutes per game and has started all 15 games this season. In the two games against the Cats last season, Walker averaged 8.5 points and 1.0 assists per game, not to shabby for someone that will stand a full 8 inches shorter than the opposing starting point guard.
Wall comes in as the front-runner for National POY and has a sickening advantage athletically and size-wise against Walker. Nothing more need be said.
Edge: John Wall, UK
Kenny Boynton vs. Eric Bledsoe
Even through this tough patch in the season Florida does have some players playing at a very high level. One of the best and most underrated freshmen in the nation, Kenny Boynton, has been tearing it up for the Gators averaging over 16 ppg over his last five, including a 28 point output against the Commodores. Odds are Eric Bledsoe will begin the game guarding Boynton to keep John Wall out of potential foul trouble and it is key he keeps his eyes on Boynton all over the floor.
Bledsoe is the laziest Wildcat in the starting lineup and could be pulled quickly if he does not come out with defensive intensity. He frequently goes under screens and almost assumes other players will pick up his man on screens and when his defender moves. Bledsoe has the length and quickness to contain Boynton but it is easier said than done.
Edge: Kenny Boynton, FLA
Dan Werner vs. Darius Miller
Werner has been the most disappointing Gator player so far this season. Granted, he was never very good, perhaps even bad, but he has gone down in almost every single offensive category even though his minutes have increased this season. Darius Miller has the pleasure of matching up against the Gators’ worst starter and will hopefully come out and dominate this matchup.
This matchup is pretty even in terms of size and importance to the outcome of the game. Miller is clearly the better player but has played perhaps his worst two games as a Wildcat in the last week, scoring 0 and 5 in his last two outings.
Vernon Macklin vs. Patrick Patterson
Vernon Macklin has been one of the best transfers in the nation this season—his first since transferring from Georgetown. He is averaging 10.0 points and 5.5 rebounds per game but also is second on the team in fouls. Macklin has started every game but one only shoots 67% from the free throw line, leading one to believe he won’t be on the court during crunch time.
Patterson is one of the best players in the country and is able to draw fouls at a terrific rate. He completely dominates players that are physically smaller than him and averaged a double-double in his two meetings with Florida last season. Being the emotional leader on the team, it is important that PPat stays out of foul trouble, something that he has greatly improved on this season over his previous two, and stays on the floor in the second half.
Edge: Patrick Patterson, UK
Alex Tyus vs. DeMarcus Cousins/Daniel Orton
Odds are DeMarcus Cousins will pick up two fouls before tip time so when he sits on the bench it will be up to the bigs on the bench—Daniel Orton and Perry Stevenson—to come ready to play, something that they haven’t been doing lately. Alex Tyus makes his impact based off pure athleticsm and energy but against mountaints like Cousins and Orton it will be very tough to have the sort of results he is accustomed to. Cousins is easily the best rebounder in the nation, averaging over nine rebounds per game in only 2o minutes an outing.
Edge: DeMarcus Cousins
One of the most intruiging matchups this evening will be between the head honchos on the sidelines. Donovan will try to prove that he made the right decision by staying at UF when it was safely assumed he had first dibs at the UK job last year. Calipari has really nothing to prove accept that his young Cats can win on the road in a hostile environment.
In other (and more important) news it is being reported that Erin Andrews will be on hand to work the sidelines at her alma mater. Widely considered the cream-of-the-crop amongst ESPN sideline analysts, Andrews should more than triple the viewership of the game in the state of Florida to at least 24 people because of her “appeal”. If you are not familiar with Erin Andrews and her god-given talent it is time to get familiar.