UK vs. Florida Preview



No. 13 Florida (and SEC East-leading 11-2) comes to Rupp Arena Saturday at 4 p.m. for the second meeting with No. 22 UK (7-6 in SEC play). Florida won the first game, 70-68.

1. Head coach John Calipari wants to see more effort, particularly in the rebounding department. He said UK has been tracking rebounding attempt percentage. He wants it to be around 80 percent on both ends; against Arkansas, Calipari said it was around 60 percent.

“I think a lot of guys are just standing,” Terrence Jones said. “If me or Josh doesn’t get it, then the other team gets it.”

That other team is quite adept at rebounding, as well, grabbing 38.9 percent of available offensive rebounds, eighth in the nation. Florida is led on the boards by Chandler Parsons, a 6-foot-9 forward averaging 7.7 rebounds per game, and Alex Tyus and Vernon Macklin both get 5-6 rebounds per game. In the first meeting, Parsons had two decisive offensive rebounds and putbacks that sealed the win for the Gators.

“It’s effort. It’s not that he’s more athletic, it’s not that he’s bigger, he’s just more active than anybody,” Calipari said. “That’s what he decides. I’m going to beat this guy to that ball.”

The first game, the teams tied with 32 rebounds apiece. UK needs to try and swing that there way, and any offensive rebounds by Josh Harrellson that lead to putbacks are especially beneficial. It might not be a stretch to expect that, because …

2. UK is at home, which tends to be a good thing — We all know UK is strong at home and weak on the road. Calipari said UK is more comfortable and confident at home, although they have yet to be tested by a truly great opponent to this point. Florida could be that.

But Florida’s splits are just as important. Florida’s road performances so far: wins at Tennessee (six points in OT), Georgia (double-OT), Auburn (five points), South Carolina and LSU, and a loss at Mississippi State. A win at UK would clinch the SEC regular season championship for Florida, as well as asserting itself as a national contender.

Regardless, UK will be playing angry after its recent loss to Arkansas.

“I don’t know,” DeAndre Liggins said as to whether the team was showing the proper amount of concern, and then added a stipulation in case the answer was no: “They should be pissed, because I’m pissed.”