NCAA Hoops SEC Championship: Kentucky Wildcats vs. (1) Florida Gators

Scottie Wilbekin-florida-12Kentucky vs. (1) Florida
Time: 3:15 PM ET, Mar 16, 2014
TV:  ESPN
Spread: FLA -7
M/L: FLA -330; KY +265
Total: 130

Betting odds courtesy of Bovada

The No. 1 ranked Florida Gators haven’t won an SEC title in seven years, but that could all change with a victory over the Kentucky Wildcats today. College basketball oddsmakers are favoring the Gators by 7 points in the SEC championship game.

The Gators (31-2) received a good scare from Tennessee on Saturday (Mar 15), as the team trailed by double digits before outscoring the Volunteers 28-14 in the second half. Gators coach Billy Donovan said his team had “a resiliency and a competitiveness,” further commenting on how impressed he was that his group has continued to compete. The Gators have won 25 straight games, and also defeated Kentucky 84-65 on Mar 8 in Gainesville and also 69-59 on Feb 15.

Wildcats coach John Calipari has been impressed by Florida, commenting on what a great coaching job and adding that “it’s almost an honor to play a team like that.” The Wildcats have its own tradition to uphold as the team has won three of the past five SEC championships.

Kentucky began the season as the No. 1 team in the nation, but the group hasn’t quite jelled as Calipari hoped. The potentiality of so many UK players being one-and-dones furthers the notion that chemistry may be elusive for teams built on one-year college players. The Cats ended the season by losing four of its final seven games, before blowing out LSU on Friday and winning 70-58 over Georgia in Saturday’s semi.

Kentucky’s Julius Randle, who is projected to be a lottery pick in the 2014 NBA draft, said “I feel like our chemistry is getting better. We’re becoming a better team, getting better every game.” If Randle truly believes this, Kentucky couldn’t pick a better time to start clicking. But the Wildcats finished the season 1-5 against ranked opponents, and that doesn’t bode well for its prospects in the upcoming NCAA tournament. Moreover, the Gators have won 30 straight against unranked teams.

KY Trends: UNDER 8-1 in last 9 Sunday games.

FLA Trends: UNDER 20-8-1 in last 29 vs SEC; UNDER 10-4 in last 14 Sunday games; UNDER 29-12-1 in last 42 overall.

Head-to-head: UNDER 6-2 in last 8 meetings.

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