Kentucky vs. Florida

I’ve been lookin’ forward to this game for a while now.

Thoughts on the first half

Most remarkable moment of the half? Roberson’s 26-foot 3-pointer at the end of the half. Of course, if he’d missed it, I would say it was a horrible shot, but I’m swayed by the scoreboard.

As for the rest of the half, I think we’re doing a good job with our transition defense. In fact, our defense in general is pretty solid except for our problems around the basket. Our help defense is still slow, especially against all the athletes on Kentucky’s squad. We’re doing a decent job of closing out on the perimeter and I think we’ve done a good job defending 3-pointers, although Kentucky seems to be finding a way to knock down well-defended shots. Our offense is sputtering, but I sort of expected that given two things: 1) Our offense seems to sputter at the beginning of every game and 2) Kentucky is known for defense. I think it’s obvious that our offense is stronger when we’re threatening to score transition buckets. We have to run Kentucky into the ground, even if we’re not scoring, so that they are spread out more on defense.

For the second half, I expect the tempo of the game to pick up a bit. I think as the tempo picks up in transition, our inside-out game will pick up and we’ll get more good looks on the perimeter. As that happens, I think the double-team on our big guys will subside and I expect Kentucky will eventually drop into some sort of zone defense. Then, I think our passing game will start to come into play and we’ll get more open looks. Of course, this is all speculation and I could be totally wrong… We’re down by 4 right now and I think we’ll win by 5 because we’re a second-half team and Kentucky has a knack for losing leads in the second half.

Thoughts on the second half

Everything went about as I expected except Kentucky never dropped into a zone defense. Of course then I got to see a classic Gator choke during the last couple minutes of the game. I don’t really have much to say since the second half went exactly as I hoped it would… until we went home a few minutes early. The end of the game was reminiscent of the Florida vs. Creighton game in the first round of the NCAA Tourney in 2002.

I couldn’t be more sick of seeing Gator chokes: 2 years ago against Creighton, the last three home games against Kentucky, this year’s Maryland game. That’s basketball. How ’bout football? I don’t even know where to begin. What about Alabama at home in ’99? First home loss in 30 games; lost by a series of bungled plays at the end of the game and even in overtime. Three seasons ago at Mississippi State, two seasons ago at Ole Miss, this season at Miami, at home against Ole Miss, at home against FSU. And those are just the highlights.

But maybe I’m just looking at the dark spots. What about wins we’ve eeked out at the last second? Well, there’s the home basketball game against Georgia last year where Roberson drained a 3-pointer on Hayes with only seconds left. There’s the football game at Tennessee in 2000 where we won by a controversial touchdown pass by Jabar Gaffney in his breakout game. The infamous Mike Miller coast-to-coast game winner against Butler in the 2000 NCAA Basketball Tourney. And that’s about all I can think of. Of course, I’m probably missing one or two, but I know I’m missing several tough losses, so I’m sure it all evens out… or at least my point is made.

I’m tired of ranting. I hope the Gators can start putting together some fantastic wins because I’m getting tired of seeing fantastic losses.