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Basketball preview: Florida Gators vs. No. 6 Kentucky Wildcats

UF can lock up the No. 2 seed in the SEC tournament with a victory at home on Saturday in the regular-season finale.
Georgia's Anthony Edwards tries to drive past Florida's Keyontae Johnson during the first half of their game on Wednesday, March 4, 2020, in Athens, Ga. [JOSHUA L. JONES  |  AP]
Georgia's Anthony Edwards tries to drive past Florida's Keyontae Johnson during the first half of their game on Wednesday, March 4, 2020, in Athens, Ga. [JOSHUA L. JONES | AP]

Florida (19-11, 11-6 SEC) vs. No. 6 Kentucky (24-6, 14-3)

Stephen C. O’Connell Center, Gainesville; 1 p.m. Saturday; TV/radio: CBS; 860-AM

BOTTOM LINE: No. 6 Kentucky presents its usual tough challenge for Florida in the regular-season finale. The Gators have won two of their past five against ranked opponents this season. Kentucky fell 81-73 at home to Tennessee on Tuesday.

AT STAKE: Heading into the final day of regular season, the Gators are tied for second in the SEC with LSU and Auburn. With a win, the Gators would be the No. 2 seed at the SEC tournament behind Kentucky. With a loss, UF could be anywhere from Nos. 2 to 5, depending on other outcomes. The top-four teams receive a double bye in the tournament.

SENIOR DUO: It’s Senior Day in Gainesville, where Kerry Blackshear and Christopher Sutherland will be recognized.

SURGING: The Gators have won five of their past seven, including a win at Georgia on Wednesday where Florida limited the Bulldogs to a season-low 54 points. Kentucky is the third top-six opponent to visit the O’Connell Center over the last eight home games. The Gators split the first two, with a loss to then-No. 1 Baylor and a win vs. then-No. 4 Auburn. In program history, Florida has beaten two AP top-six teams in a single season just twice — 2006-07 (No. 3 Ohio State, No. 1 Ohio State) and 1967-68 (No. 4 Kentucky, No. 4 Tennessee).

FEARLESS FRESHMEN: Kentucky’s Nick Richards, Immanuel Quickley and Tyrese Maxey have collectively accounted for 59 percent of the team’s scoring this season and have scored 60 percent of all its points over the past five games.

JUMPING FOR JOHNSON: Keyontae Johnson has connected on 37.2 percent of the 78 3-pointers he has attempted and has made 4 of 10 over his past three games. He also has made 77.4 percent of his free throws.

BEHIND THE ARC: UK’s Ashton Hagans has attempted 62 3-pointers and connected on 25.8 percent of them, and he is 3-for-13 over the past five games.

STREAK STATS: The Wildcats have won their past four road games, scoring 75.8 points and allowing 66 during those contests. The Gators have won their past four home games, scoring an average of 79.8 points while giving up 66.5.

STINGY DEFENSE: Kentucky has held opposing teams to 39.1 percent shooting, the lowest percentage in the SEC.

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