Gators clinch share of 2013 SEC regular season title with Kentucky loss

USA TODAY Sports

Bud Walton Arena was the site of a nightmare for Florida earlier this season, but when it proved to be too much for Kentucky on Saturday, the Gators benefited.

Flashback: March 1, 2011. Florida crushed Alabama 78-51 in Gainesville, to secure the SEC championship for the 2011 regular season. Both teams came into that game with identical conference records of 11-3, and the winner would have a one game lead with one game to go plus the tiebreaker; essentially, it was the SEC Championship Game of the hardwood that year.

Yes, that was the game in which Adam Allen dribbled out the clock.

Two years and one day later, Florida and Alabama met again in the O'Dome, this time with a little bit more needing to happen for one team to win the conference regular season title, but with the winner controlling its own destiny.

The first week of March sure is good to the Gators.

The Gators' 64-52 win over Alabama knocked the Crimson Tide out of the SEC race, but Kentucky was still alive. The Arkansas Razorbacks changed that by beating Kentucky, knocking them two games behind Florida as well, and giving the Gators at least a share of the SEC regular season championship.

With two games to play, Florida is 13-3 in the SEC. Alabama is 11-5, with a loss to Florida, meaning the Gators win the tiebreaker; Alabama can't win the SEC title. Kentucky is also 11-5, having lost their first game to the Gators, and since they play again, the best they can do is tie and split the season series. Even if the two teams finish tied, Florida would get the nod as the No. 1 seed in the SEC Tournament, due to a win over Alabama, which beat Kentucky.

Florida looks to clinch the SEC outright against Vanderbilt on Wednesday night. With a win over the Commodores, the Gators would also clinch an undefeated season in the O'Connell Center.

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