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ACT III: Gators and Cats collide for SEC Championship

Kentucky-florida-031014(Courtesy NCAA.com)

ATLANTA -- What a difference a week makes. 

Eight days after No. 1 Florida walloped Kentucky in Gainesville -- UF's largest winning-margin (19 points) in series history -- John Calipari's youthful Wildcats look (and feel) like a new team.

Engineered by Calipari's much-publicized "tweaks," Kentucky trounced LSU in the Southeastern Conference tournament quarterfinals before dispatching Georgia to advance to the league's title game. 

"We're not the same team we were two, three weeks ago," Calipari said.

"They're just starting to come together. It took time. We're starting five freshmen, folks. Five freshmen trying to do something unique and special. This team, they're starting to come together. We're now one of those teams that you would hope we would have been two months ago, but so what. It took time. I'm good with it. ...This team just needed something to get them over the hump and they're doing it now."

The upset-minded 'Cats look to end Florida's school-record 25-game winning streak today at 3:15 on ESPN. Meanwhile, the Gators hope to become the first team since Tennessee in 1978-79 to beat UK three times in one season. 

While UK's boisterous freshmen openly relish the opporunity to play the nation's top-ranked team for a third time, Calipari -- in his most Lou Holtz-ian hyperbolic state -- does not. 

"I've had enough of Florida. For four years I've seen the same guys," Calipari siad. "What a great team. What a great story. What a great coaching job. You're talking about a team that it's almost an honor to play a team like that. I understand when this game is close, they will not give you the game, and if you don't fight like heck, they're taking it from you. That's who they are and that's who they have been all year. I don't see it changing.

"Now, that means when we go against them, you're going to have to take it. They will not give it to you. As you're trying to take it, they're trying to take it from you. So they absolutely bashed us down there. We weren't even in the game. Then we make a 15-0 run and get it close, and then they bash us again. My players can all say what they want. I'm not looking forward to playing Florida again. But you know what? We are here, I don't think they're going to let us leave, so we're going to go play this game and see what happens."

Measure versus might. 

Should be fun. 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

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GATORS will be the Overall #1 Seed no matter what happens. Just a nice scrimmage tuneup game heading into the NCAA Tournament... #Bonus

Another hard fought win. we had a big lead and let them come back but persevered in the end. Would have liked to see Wilbekin and DFS hit those free throws at the end but at least Wilbekin came back and played great defense the final drive not allowing Uk to score. Our bracket looks really tough we better practice those free throws.
Go Gators. All the way.

Florida (1): In October, in a hotel ballroom in Birmingham, Ala., Florida coach Billy Donovan detailed his team's almost unbelievable personnel attrition. Eli Carter and Will Yeguete were recovering from injury. Michael Frazier II was being tested for mononucleosis. Damontre Harris had a hamstring strain; he would eventually be dismissed from the team. Five-star freshman forward Chris Walker was desperately trying to get academically eligible. And senior guard Scottie Wilbekin was indefinitely suspended.

Donovan had seven scholarship players in practice. He couldn't even run five-on-five.

"I'd tell you today, if we had [all our players available] and we could start Oct. 11 fully healthy, then I'd tell you we have a chance to be really good," he said then. "Hopefully we can get there as the season goes on. But we're not there right now."

Newsflash: Florida got there.

The Gators' early personnel woes had the long-term effect of helping Donovan's team. Early on, they required senior forward and longtime role player Casey Prather to become a go-to scorer. They forced Kasey Hill into the point guard role before Wilbekin's return. By the time Prather was a Wooden Award candidate and Patric Young established himself in the post, Donovan was slowly reintroducing more and better pieces: First Dorian Finney-Smith, then Wilbekin, then 3-point specialist Frazier emerged, then Walker. Now it's March and the Gators are Mariana Trench deep, experienced, talented, the works. They haven't lost since Dec. 2. They've got it all. Who knows: If Donovan had his whole team ready Oct. 11, maybe the Gators' season wouldn't have gone this way.

Florida receiver Andre Debose was thrown through a window during a fight in Gainesville on Saturday night that resulted in another man being arrested.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Debose and three others were eating when he and one of the other men, Victor Watkins, got into an argument and Watkins threw Debose into a window, which shattered. Another man, John Mark Honeycutt, reportedly became angry and ultimately fired a rifle toward Watkins' SUV and yard.

Honeycutt was arrested on an aggravated assault charge, but Debose and the others were interviewed and released.

Initial reports stated Debose had allegedly been the one who threw someone through a window, but that was the result of an error on the incident summary released to the media by the Gainesville Police Department, which apologized to Debose through its Facebook page for the error.

Debose was recently granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA after missing all of last season with a torn ACL. He also missed his freshman year in 2009 after having surgery on a hamstring injury.

And what point are you trying to make? Grasping for anything you can loser cane fan?

Georgia. Southern.

Another day another gator athlete involved in criminal acts, this is becoming the norm, riggghhttt.

Point is this Moron is a loser. Like his team and his fellow Morons he has nothing. Still stupid enough to come here and post.
We are going dancing, how about you?
Losers and idiots.

Jlo bragging about dancing with gatordumb, how sweet, now back to mopping the floors at UM and when your done wash the towels.

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