Positions battles for UK vs. Florida


Tyley Ulis calls the team into a huddle after a foul during the first half of the game against Vanderbilt on Saturday, February 27, 2016 in Nashville, TN. Photo by Cameron Sadler | Staff 

Anthony Crawford

Florida’s recent play has earned it a spot along UK as one of the few SEC schools that currently sit firmly in the field for the NCAA tournament. With both teams coming off road losses though, this game presents an opportunity to right the ship and better their seeds. Here are the matchups to watch as UK takes on Florida in Gainesville Tuesday night.

Tyler Ulis vs.Chris Chiozza

Sophomore Tyler Ulis is coming off an uncharacteristic off-game. On the road against Vanderbilt, the point guard’s shot betrayed him as he struggled shooting from all over the floor but particularly from deep, going 0-for-7 from three-point range. He was still able to initiate offense coming away with six assists but UK needs Ulis to get back to scoring more efficiently.

Ulis should have no problem defending Florida guard Chris Chiozza as he has not scored in double-figures in the Gators last two outings. Chiozza was even replaced in the staring lineup last week against Vanderbilt. 

Isaiah Briscoe vs. Kasey Hill or KeVaughn Allen

Florida has been experimenting with its lineup recently and the final spot will likely come down to junior Kasey Hill or freshman KeVaughn Allen. What head coach Mike White is mostly looking for is someone to knock down shots and both have struggled with that in recent weeks.

Freshman Isaiah Briscoe is getting to the point with his outside shooting that opposing defenses just ignore him. Vandy’s guards doubled in the post using Briscoe’s man simply because he can’t hurt the defense from outside. He will need to find a way to be more of an off-ball threat if UK hopes to beat the Gators on the road.

Jamal Murray vs. Devin Robinson

Freshman Jamal Murray came to Memorial Gymnasium over the weekend more than ready to play.  Unfortunately, it seemed like all the rest of the team left their abilities back in Lexington. He put up 33 points in a losing effort and was the team’s only real source of offense.

During Florida’s lineup switches, sophomore Devin Robinson has been the main benefactor. The forward’s ability to make shots from deep has earned him a spot in the starting lineup and it proved to be a good move as he went 4-for-5 from deep last game in the Gators’ loss to LSU.

Alex Poythress vs. Dorian Finney-Smith

There’s no nice way to put it, UK’s front court a no-show against Vanderbilt. Senior Alex Poythress was among those players and his poor performance is even more disappointing when looking at the fact that he has the most experience on the team.

Senior Dorian Finney-Smith is the complete opposite for Florida, as he has been able to lead the team with his experience. The forward leads the team in points and rebounds and will be a tough cover for Poythress, especially if he hopes to stay out of foul trouble.

Marcus Lee vs. John Egbunu

The effort from UK’s front court was very underwhelming against the Commodores, but junior Marcus Lee was at least able to score for the team. He was one of UK’s four players to score, with nine points. The forwards also gave a decent defensive effort coming away with six rebounds and three blocks.

Lee will face a difficult matchup trying to guard redshirt sophomore John Egbunu. The center has the big body that Lee has trouble guarding in the post and is coming off a career-high 22 points in the loss to LSU.