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Florida beat Kentucky, but it wasn’t exactly impressive

Feb 12, 2013, 9:26 PM EDT

Kentucky Wildcats v Florida Gators Getty Images

The story of Tuesday night’s matchup between No. 7 Florida and No. 25 Kentucky is the left knee of Nerlens Noel.

He hurt it. It looked bad. He was carried off the floor. That’s all we know right now.

But it also overshadowed a more interesting story that was developing: Kentucky played about as poorly as a team with four lottery picks can play, and still managed to cut the lead to 12 points when Noel went down.

And I don’t need to tell you what the issues with Kentucky were. Alex Poythress played like he was shaving points. Nerlens Noel and Willie Cauley-Stein both were dealing with foul trouble. So was Archie Goodwin. Ryan Harrow was so overwhelmed by Florida’s defensive pressure that Coach Cal was forced to use Jarrod Polson in the back court with him at the same time. At one point early in the second half, Kentucky had 13 turnovers and just six assists.

Yet, Florida was never able to put them away. They were never quite able to step on the Wildcat’s throats and take all intrigue out of the game. Part of that is a result of playing without Will Yeguete, but Yeguete has always been more of a defensive-minded than an offensive weapon. And his replacement, Casey Prather, played about as well as he has since enrolling at Florida.

So what do we make of this?

Well, it’s tough to know.

On the one hand, Florida was never really in danger against a top three or four team in the SEC, pushing their lead to as much as 19 points in the second half. But they also allowed a team that had absolutely no rhythm offensively to get into a rhythm and to begin to mount a comeback. What people may forget is that on the possession right before Noel’s injury, Goodwin missed a wide-open three, Poythress missed a layup and Goodwin was called for a charge. All in the span of 10 seconds.

After Mike Rosario missed a three, a lazy pass led to the fast break when Noel’s knee buckled. Kentucky had four chances to cut the Florida lead to ten points.

In simpler terms, Florida didn’t exactly win in impressive fashion.

And yes, I know, I’m picking nits.

But when you’re a national title contender — which Florida is — that is a week removed from many trumpeting the fact that you’re the best team in the country — which many believed Florida was — you’re supposed to put struggling, overmatched teams away before their best player has to leave the game.

That Florida didn’t is a fact that stood out in the second half.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

  1. jaydm84 - Feb 12, 2013 at 10:09 PM

    17 points against a top 25 team isn’t impressive? They were never in danger of losing, at all. You sir, are an idiot.

  2. mazblast - Feb 12, 2013 at 10:14 PM

    I watched most of the game, which apparently was more than this writer did. The Gators may not have stomped Kentucky, but they were on cruise control most of the way. The issue was never in doubt, which is never supposed to happen to St. Cal and Holy Kentucky.

    Hey, I would have loved to see Florida beat them by 35, but that’s just me. Billy Donovan is 10,000 times the coach I’d ever be, and he seemed to be OK with what he saw.

  3. imforbigblue - Feb 12, 2013 at 10:42 PM

    Don’t get me started about these over rated players uk has this year. I’ve never been a fan of one and done but I’ll be glad when Alex and Goodwin leave for the NBA. Already looking towards next year when we get some real players in here and stomp Florida

    • ukcatsfan - Feb 13, 2013 at 9:35 AM

      Aren’t you the same guy who told me that UK was a top three team this year? I can’t stand when a so called fan doesn’t back his team no matter what. So what this isn’t the best season we have had under Cal, UK is still my team and I will support them win or lose.

  4. cranespy - Feb 12, 2013 at 11:07 PM

    You got what you wanted BBN…..Cal and his One Year Wonders! Enjoy that Championship because it certainly looks like there won’t be another anytime soon! Have you figured out yet that Cal does ONE thing better than anyone else…RECRUIT….WTF….you expected him to coach too! A coach he is not!

    • ukcatsfan - Feb 13, 2013 at 9:42 AM

      I have to disagree with you…..Cal can coach! There has been multiple coaches who admit they couldn’t do what Cal does with young guys. Teaches them to play defense and buy in to the team mentality when they just came out of high school where they were the man on every team they played on. I am happy with Cal as my teams coach and even though this is a rough season for us I think he has done a great job here.

  5. canehouse - Feb 12, 2013 at 11:12 PM

    UF was in complete control for the entire game… It’s not like they were playing against the Washington Generals!!

  6. dgbk - Feb 13, 2013 at 12:11 AM

    ohhhh no they almost cut it to ten. if that’s the biggest thing you took from that game then idk. it was a reason uk had no rhythm uf defense. it’s not like they were missin easy shots all night.even before his injury young was out playin noels and the other seven footer cant spell his name.

  7. myopinionisrighterthanyours - Feb 13, 2013 at 12:44 AM

    I’m sorry. Did I miss UK’s offensive rhythm they found in the second half getting them within one possession? Two? Just because MSU blew out a Meechigan team that plays exclusively on the perimeter, doesn’t mean UF should have done the same to UK. Florida was able to play inside and outside and get UK’s big men in foul trouble. I’ll take it.

  8. blueglaze - Feb 13, 2013 at 4:50 AM

    Ya this story was a little dramatic… That was a great game florida played. The Defensive pressure alone was on edge of your seat entertainment. Looked like art in motion really.

  9. imforbigblue - Feb 13, 2013 at 7:19 AM

    Give me a break Florida beat a very bad uk team don’t act like your team is so great you still got beat by a very bad Arkansas team. next year once we get so real players come talk to me then. you weren’t talking all this crap last year about cal when uk was beating the crap out of you and winning the national championship

  10. dexterismyhero - Feb 13, 2013 at 8:17 AM

    @imforbigblueandIblowcoachCal – Feb 13, 2013 at 7:19 AM

    Welcome back lil boy!!!!!

  11. bakaduin - Feb 13, 2013 at 9:20 AM

    This is one of the most insane posts I’ve ever read on this website. I’m not even sure we watched the same game.

    After UK scored the first four points of the game things were never in doubt. Yeah UK almost cut it to single digits but basketball is a game of runs and every single time UK got a few baskets in a row UF roared back to extend the lead. It happened in the first half and it happens in every game. You can’t expect a team with as good of players as UK, and in a rivalry game no less, to not stretch some baskets together. UK could not score consistently against a tenacious Florida D. Even when Casey Prather was matching up against a 7 footer you still had confidence the team defense would hold UK and they did often. UF had 5 players in double figures, had 9 blocks, forced 17 turnovers, had assists on over half their FGs, shot 50% from the floor and 43% from 3. What more do you want? Picking nits is an understatement.

  12. ukcatsfan - Feb 13, 2013 at 9:39 AM

    I think it was obvious to see which team was the superior team, UK has a lot of offensive issues to sort out and will have on defense if Noel is out for long. UF was firing on all cylinders on defense and offense congrats gator fans on an impressive win…….I think UK-UF is a good rivalry and I always look forward to their games.

  13. jag8r904 - Feb 13, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    This game was never close. I guess by your standards, the 80-69 loss to Arkansas was a close game, too?

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