It’s never too early to talk about Florida and Kentucky. The No. 3 Gators and No. 14 Wildcats will meet in a ranked prime-time showdown Saturday night in Rupp Arena as the two top teams in the Southeastern Conference.
Tennessee power forward Jarnell Stokes has faced Florida and Kentucky three times. The Vols went 0-3 in the three meetings, with two losses to UF and a loss at UK.
Asked to compare Florida and Kentucky, Stokes responded: “Florida is a great defensive team, probably the best defensive team I’ve faced in the country. Kentucky has playmakers. I think that will be a really good game. I look for Florida to double-team (Kentucky forward Julius) Randle, probably cause a lot of turnovers.”
The Gators haven’t won at Rupp Arena since 2007. Florida had a prime opportunity to win there last year, but went scoreless in the final 7:36 of s 61-57 loss to the Wildcats last season.
How big is the matchup? Scouts from 13 different NBA teams have been credentialed for the game. The list includes the Charlotte Bobcats, Milwaukee Bucks, Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers, Orlando Magic, Indiana Pacers, San Antonio Spurs, Golden State Warriors and Philadelphia 76ers.