Scouting Florida-Kentucky

Keys to victory in Saturday night's showdown between SEC rivals

Updated: February 14, 2014, 2:13 PM ET
By Seth Greenberg and Bruce Pearl | ESPN Insider

Billy Donovan, John CalipariUSA TODAY SportsFlorida's Billy Donovan and Kentucky's John Calipari square off Saturday night at Rupp Arena.

With Saturday's highly anticipated matchup between the Florida Gators and Kentucky Wildcats (9 p.m. ET, ESPN) fast approaching, we asked former coaches Seth Greenberg and Bruce Pearl to break it all down. Each provided a scouting report on the biggest keys for both sides of the ball, with Greenberg taking the role of Wildcats coach John Calipari and Pearl the role of the Gators' Billy Donovan.


How Kentucky can beat Florida (by Seth Greenberg)

1. Handle UF's full-court pressure, don't settle for shots

Florida is the sixth-most efficient defensive team in the country. The Gators do a great job in defensive transition, allowing only 8.4 points a game, and also in the paint, where they allow a league-best 22.7 points a game. Florida's defense can turn you over with its matchup press, stifle you with its half-court man-to-man defense or keep you off balance with its 2-3 zone.

The challenge for the young Kentucky backcourt will be to remain poised against the pressure and make good decisions in regard to advantages and disadvantages. The objective of the press is to make opponents play at a speed faster than their abilities. Early in the game, Kentucky must attack for layups. Andrew Harrison and Aaron Harrison will need to work to get open, be strong with the ball, fight pressure and not float passes or leave their feet while passing out of traps. When the ball is thrown out of the press, the receiving players must meet passes, turn, face and read the defense. James Young will need to attack on opportunity and not settle for the 3-pointer. He must attack the press for layups.


To read Seth Greenberg and Bruce Pearl's full breakdown of Florida-Kentucky, sign up for Insider today.

Bruce Pearl

ESPN College Basketball analyst
• Joined ESPN as a college basketball analyst in 2012
• Former head coach at Southern Indiana, Milwaukee and Tennessee