Kentucky travels to Gainesville to face off against the Florida Gators on Saturday to finish off the regular season.
After the disappointing 81-73 loss to Tennessee on Tuesday night, in which they blew a 17-point lead and further ended their eight-game winning streak, a lot of people were concerned with the psyche of the team as arguments were visible on the court, especially involving sophomore point guard Ashton Hagans.
UK Head Coach John Calipari downplayed the arguments, describing it all as just the heat of the moment.
“When you coach young kids, that is what pops out sometimes,” Calipari said. “I’ve done this before — there are sometimes when I ask a guy if he wants to go in, he says no, then we move on.”
Last time Kentucky played Florida, the Cats outlasted the Gators 65-59 in Rupp Arena. Florida has not lived up to pre-season expectations, as they are 19-11 overall and 11-6 in SEC play this season, but have played much better as of late, winning seven of their last 10.
“They’re good,” UK Head Coach John Calipari said of Florida. “They’re playing good basketball.”
Florida grad-transfer Kerry Blackshear Jr. has been pretty consistent for Florida, averaging 13.2 points per game and leading the team in rebounding with 7.5 boards per game.
UK Head Coach John Calipari was very complimentary of Blackshear and his experience as a player.
“He (Blackshear) gets you into bad positions,” Calipari said. “He’s one of the best big men in our league.”
UK freshman guard Tyrese Maxey, when the game against Tennessee was going into UK’s favor, was scoring in bunches. He finished the game with 21 points on 8-15 shooting from the field, as Kentucky was playing through him.
UK Head Coach John Calipari acknowledged that the team can obviously play through Maxey, but also said that they can go to any player on the team if that guy is playing great in a certain game.
“This is a game-to-game team more than any team I’ve coached,” Calipari said. “Someone has it going, we got to ride that guy.”
Kentucky is 54-13 in games following a loss in the Calipari Era, and hopes to bring that winning percentage even higher after a crucial Saturday game that might also decide what seed they are be in the NCAA Tournament. The matchup against the Gators will be Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. on CBS.