The Florida Gators carry the No. 1 ranking into the final week of the regular season after defeating Vanderbilt on the road and handling LSU at the O’Connell Center. Now the Gators finish up league play by traveling to South Carolina on Tuesday night (7:00 p.m. on ESPNU) and then hosting Kentucky for Senior Day on Saturday (12:00 p.m. on CBS). We will once again host a weekend viewing party at The Greene Turtle in McHenry Row as UF hosts the Wildcats. For ALL our Charm City Gators who come out and attend the game-watch party event this Saturday, we will be having 3 free drawings for “Turtle Bucks” good for use at the Green Turtle McHenry Row to be held pre-game, during half-time, and at post-game!
Florida (27-2, 16-0 SEC) squeaked by Vanderbilt in Nashville, 57-54, thanks to 19 pts. from Dorian Finney-Smith, and then blew out LSU, 79-61, in front of a frenzied O’Dome crowd. Against the Tigers, Finney-Smith once again led the Florida attack while Casey Prather, Michael Frazier II, and Scottie Wilbekin also scored in double figures. The Gators scored the first eight points of the game and led by as many as 29 in the rout of the Tigers.
The Gators remain balanced on offense, but rank eighth in the SEC in scoring, averaging 71.0 points per game (ppg). The Gator D is allowing just 58.7 ppg, though, leading the conference and ranking sixth nationally.
South Carolina (11-18, 4-12 SEC) knocked off No. 17 Kentucky, 72-67, Saturday night in Columbia. Guard Brenton Williams paced the Gamecocks with 24 pts. while Sindarius Thornwell and Michael Carrera added 14 and 11, respectively.
The Gators lead the all-time series with South Carolina, 41-22, and have posted an impressive 25-11 mark against their conference rivals under Billy Donovan. UF won the matchup between the two squads earlier this season comfortably, 74-58, in Gainesville for its fifth straight win in the series. Wilbekin led UF with 17 pts and three assists while Prather and Patric Young each netted 13 pts.
Kentucky (21-8, 11-5 SEC) slipped to No. 25 in the latest poll following the loss to USC and hosts Alabama on Tuesday before traveling to Gainesville. Freshman Julius Randle (15.5 ppg) leads a Wildcat offense which is averaging 77.4 ppg. He is also grabbing 10.4 rebounds per game for a UK squad that sits fourth in the country with a 41.8 rebounds per game average.