Three things to watch for in UK’s game against Florida in the SEC semifinals:
1. What can Florida do to make up 35 points? — This will be the third time in just over a month that UK plays Florida. The Cats beat the Gators at home by 20 points and one the road by 15 points.
So what can Florida do differently?
Namely, hit more 3-pointers, a shot that Florida head coach Billy Donovan said can be the “great equalizer.”
UK’s length bothered Florida’s outside shooting in the previous two matchups, as the Gators made a combined 12 of 49 (24 percent) 3-pointers. In their other 14 SEC games, Florida shot 38 percent.
Florida will still hoist up outside shots. It shot 30 in a quarterfinal win against Alabama. Just how many they make will go a long way in determining whether the Cats can win a third time.
2. Find an answer for Patric Young — The Florida forward tore up UK’s defense last week, scoring 21 points with 11 rebounds. He’s the Gators’ only scary inside threat, so if the Cats can stop him, it means that much more.
Because of Florida’s bevy of 3-pointers, it’s hard to double down on Young. It will fall on UK’s frontcourt to contain Young largely on their own.
After beating Alabama, Young said UK doesn’t give Florida much respect.
“A few of the (UK) guys have commented on us that they know they’re going to beat us,” Young said, according to Ben Jones of Rivals.com.
Considering how well he played last time, the Cats better be giving Young plenty of it in preparing for him this time.
3. Teague and Miller — Two vital pieces of UK’s championship quest had a letdown against LSU. Teague missed all five of his shots and Miller only attempted two.
Whatever the reason for the off day, the pair needs to move past it. Teague can get his confidence back, and Miller — who Donovan said has been the one player who has had the most success over the years against Florida because of his ability to create mismatches — needs to get back on track.