Once again, it's Kentucky, old blood of the SEC, trumping nouveau riche Florida. But it's the Wildcats' youth movement that helped Kentucky secure its 65-54 victory over the veteran Gators in the 2011 SEC Tournament final on this Selection Sunday.
Freshmen Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones led the Wildcats, contributing 17 and 16 points, respectively, and helping key a defensive effort that limited the explosive Gators to a miserable afternoon. And injured freshman Doron Lamb sparked Kentucky in the first half with six points off the bench.
But it was Kentucky's defense that won the day, suffocating Florida with size and athleticism. The Wildcats had six steals and forced 14 Florida turnovers, and limited the Gators to a miserable 38.6% shooting from the field.
Florida's perimeter players, so often the focal point of the Gators' offense, had one of their worst days of the season. The trio of Chandler Parsons, Kenny Boynton, and Erving Walker combined for 27 points on 10 of 38 shooting, just one day after Boynton and Walker combined for more than 30 points in the second half against Vanderbilt.
With the win, Kentucky is likely to be a low No. 3 seed or high No. 4 seed in the 2011 NCAA Tournament. Florida should get no less than a No. 4 seed, but could still earn a No. 3 seed.