Gators fall to Kentucky in SEC Tournament Final

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 13: Kenny Boynton #1 of the Florida Gators reacts during their game against the Kentucky Wildcats in the championship game of the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament at Georgia Dome on March 13, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The Florida Gators ran into the one SEC team that they couldn't rally against.

Florida could not over come their third halftime deficit in the SEC Tournament, losing the final 70-54 to the Kentucky Wildcats. Kenny Boynton was the only Gator in double digits, with 10 points, but it took 16 shots for him to get there. Chandler Parsons had 9 points and 10 rebounds, but also struggled with a 4 for 12 shooting performance. UK had four players in double figures, including Brandon Knight with 17 points and Terrence Jones with 16.

The final box score will be a strange one for Florida, compared to the other 32 games they played this season. UF made 22 field goals, versus 20 made by UK. The Gators also made one more 3-pointer than Kentucky: 7 to 6. The teams were about even on rebounds, but UF did have 14 turnovers compared to 6 for the Cats. 

But more than a few of those turnovers were offensive fouls. Florida racked up 22 fouls against Kentucky, leading to UK's 29 to 8 advantage in free throws attempted. The Cats were 24 of 29 at the line, far ahead of UF's 3 of 8 foul shooting.

To be sure, UF could have shot better than 39 percent, especially if they had not been fatigued from needing monster second halves for the last two games. But the Gators average only 14.2 fouls per game, which is the least amount of fouls per game in the nation. (It was also their average in the first two games of the SEC Tournament.) No, the officials did not lose the game for UF, but they might have helped. 

The Gators will not await the selection committee. UF should be going to Tampa for second and third round games (yes, it is stupid that the play-in games are the "first round"), but under the pod system, they could be placed in the East (Newark), Southeast (New Orleans) or Southwest (San Antonio) corners of the bracket. They will get credit for getting to the SEC final and winning the regular season. They won't get a two seed and a five seed would be unfair. We'll be back later with that breakdown.

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