Coming off the best-scoring game since his freshman season, Florida senior guard Kenny Boynton was asked what he thought about UF’s chances to win the expanded 14-team Southeastern Conference.
“I think we’re right up there at the top,” Boynton said. “I think there are some great teams in the SEC. Honestly, I think Kentucky is a good team despite their record, I think we’ve got to respect them as a team, but overall I think if we do the right things we’re at the top and we can win it.”
The No. 11 Gators (10-12) enter SEC play Wednesday night against Georgia with the highest RPI of the 14 SEC teams. Florida is the second-highest ranked team in the league behind No. 10 Missouri (11-2).
Boynton’s 28 points last Sunday matched a career-high he set Jan. 9, 2010 at Vanderbilt. He appears to be getting hot at the right time, having made 11 of his last 17 3-point attempts.
Florida coach Billy Donovan downplayed UF’s role as SEC favorites. Defending national champion Kentucky, with no starters left from last year, is off to a 9-4 start, though the four losses have come against No. 1 Duke, No. 3 Lousville, No. 17 Notre Dame and Baylor. Donovan has led UF to SEC regular-season titles in 2000, 2001, 2007 and 2011.
“I don’t think our guys worry about that,” Donovan said. “We’ve got an older group of guys that understand, any given night anything can happen. And, uh, judging from me, it doesn’t make a difference. I don’t think our guys feel any extra pressure because we’re picked to win the league.”
Donovan also said an SEC regular-season title would ring hollow because with the expanded league (14) and schedule (18 games), it’s hard to crown a true champion.
“You’re never ever going to have a true league champion because it’s no longer a round-robin,” Donovan said. “The scheduling and the way it’s set, for us, it’s just to try to get these guys to understand that.”