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SEC Smash Tourney Game #11 (Championship Game) Review

Posted on March 13, 2011

Before today's SEC Tournament Championship game, Florida committed the 3rd fewest fouls of all teams in the nation. This is due to their fairly level-headed defense and incredible ability to dominate both offensive and defensive rebounding. A Kentucky team that often gets itself into foul trouble with a limited bench -- a bench made more limited due to freshman guard Doron Lamb's injury on Saturday -- the predictions held that Florida would wear out the Wildcats via foul attrition.

Florida didn't count on Kentucky's zone defense being so effective. Finding themselves behind early with yet-another Wildcat 1st-half 3-pointer barrage, the Gators were hindered by the Wildcats' athleticism and speed in zone defense. Most surprisingly Kentucky played in control, committing just 7 fouls in the 1st half. Extended time from seemingly-only-effective-against-Florida reserve Eloy Vargas (2 points on 2-4 FT, 3 offensive rebounds, 4 total rebounds, 1 steal) gave the Wildcats inside depth it normally didn't have.

The script was flipped: Florida played like a team without senior leadership. Florida guards Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton constantly deferred from taking contested 3-pointers and missed most of the shots they did take. Senior forward and SEC Player of the Year Chandler Parsons practically disappeared offensively in the 2nd half. Florida played desperately on defense, committing a season-high 22 fouls and allowing 24 Kentucky points from made free-throws. The previous high-water mark for Florida's committed fouls was 21... against Kentucky at Rupp Arena.

The 20,000-something Big Blue fans dominating the Georgia Dome seating must have the Gators in a foul mood.

Kentucky wins the SEC Tournament Championship Game 70-54. Both teams will be at the least #4 seeds in the NCAA Tournament, though it wouldn't surprise me to see them both as #3 seeds.

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