GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- No. 3 Florida (22-2, 11-0 SEC) will face its toughest test in conference play when it travels to No. 14 Kentucky (19-5, 9-2 SEC) tonight for a 9 p.m. tipoff in front of a national TV audience.
Florida coach Billy Donovan has called Kentucky the nation's 'most talented team' leading into Saturday night's matchup.
Coach Billy Donovan has made no bones about that, either.
"I think probably top to bottom, (one of) the most talented (teams), if not the most talented team in the country," Donovan said. "You’re talking about every position that they’ve got on the floor there they’ve got scoring ability, they’ve got size, they’ve got athleticism, they’ve got great length."
The Gators have lost their last six games in Rupp Arena. They haven't won there since winning back-to-back national titles in 2006 and 2007.
A senior-laden team, this Florida bunch isn't as focused on going 0-fer against Kentucky as much as honing in on simply the next game.
They've echoed Donovan's comments on the matchup this weekend to a T.
"We just have to come ready to play, whatever happens between the lines," center Patric Young said. "None of that stuff matters. All that matters is what’s going on in between the lines and staying focused on the goal as a team. Just going to think of it as another game."
That's exactly the message Donovan has given his team as it heads into Lexington tonight looking to extend its 16-game winning streak and keep its conference record perfect.
"The biggest thing we’ve done is focus on what takes place between the lines and what we have to prepare for," the 18th-year Florida coach said. "People, because it’s College GameDay, there will be a lot of excitement. It’s always great for college basketball that college basketball is getting a national stage on Saturday night at these times of year. It’s promoting the sport.
"All of those things are great. At the same point, all of our guys have a job to do and a responsibility to each other, doing their job to the best of their ability. For us, it’s much more getting locked in and focused on what we need to do for 40 minutes and playing on the road."
That certainly doesn't mean Florida's ignoring just how capable Kentucky is of keeping the Gators from reaching their school record win streak of 17 games.
The Gators know just how good the Wildcats are. Donovan won't them forget it.
"I think top to bottom this is the most talented team in the country," he said.
Florida's more than capable of beating that team. It just has to do what it has done all year: Tune out the distractions, show up and play hard-nosed basketball.
"This team has been through all that," Young said. "We’re pretty experienced. We don’t really care too much about what the media says or what’s going on outside of our team. We just care about what goes on in between the lines, and wins, getting it done."