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College Basketball Pick


Now seems like as good of time as any for Florida to take on Kentucky. The Gators are considered one of UK's biggest threats to win the SEC and with the Wildcats struggling, this may be the best time to upend them. Kentucky has been in a bit of a funk, first the loss at Tennessee, then the home loss to Kansas. On Tuesday, it was more of the same and the Cats had trouble disposing of a middle-of-the-pack Georgia team as a late Malik Monk shot was needed to send it to overtime.

As for Florida, things are looking great, coming off two huge road wins a week ago at LSU and Oklahoma. Sure, the Gators also had some SEC slip-ups in a loss at South Carolina and against Vanderbilt, but if they aren't excited for this game, they won't be excited for any. This is the game that every SEC team looks forward to every year, to try and take down the giant. UK comes in with some close road wins at Vandy and Mississippi State and that Tennessee loss. This one is set to be another back-and-forth battle with the Gators having a good chance to give the Cats their second conference loss.

Kentucky leads in just about every offensive category in the SEC, but it's worth noting they simply aren't as good on the road. Florida has fought with plenty of high-end teams this season like Duke, Florida State and Gonzaga, so this one is no different. Winning this game will depend on its defense, which has been in lock down mode in recent games. But can the Gators hold down the trio of Malik Monk, De'Aaron Fox and Isaiah Briscoe? Monk may force his shot a little too much, but there's no denying what he's done this season, scoring 31 points in the second half and overtime in the win against Georgia. When the Cats set picks for him or if he's creating his own shot, there aren't many in the nation that can keep him in check.

One thing Florida has is a bit more experience with Kasey Hill, Chris Chiozza and KeVaughn Allen in the backcourt. The problem is that all of them are lacking in the size department. Against UK's team, which was similarly bigger last year, the Gators had all kinds of problems defending them. Down low, Kentucky also has the advantage of Bam Adebayo against either John Egbunu or Kevarrius Hayes. Adebayo has struggled with consistency, but is still a problem on the block for most defenders.

The Gators may not have the players that stand out on the stat sheet, but they have the depth with seven guys averaging at least 19 minutes per game and Kevarrius Hayes at 15 minutes per game despite dropping 20 points at Oklahoma last weekend. The question will be if they can get production down low from Egbunu or Devin Robinson. Kentucky has had issues dealing with quick guards that can drive or any one that has a post move or two in the paint. If the Gators can get production from a couple bigs as well as what Allen, Canyon Barry and Hill do from the perimeter, that will be enough to carve out an edge in this game. Kentucky is reeling, but can Florida give the Wildcats that knockout punch having lost five straight in this meeting?

Our Pick - Florida by 1

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