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Florida vs. Kentucky, 2015 SEC Tournament, Game Thread: Third time's the charm?

Florida looks to prevent a three-game sweep by Kentucky — and keep its NCAA Tournament hopes alive.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Florida's only beaten Kentucky three times in a season once — it happened last year, as the 2013-14 Gators beat the Wildcats at home, in Rupp Arena, and in the final of the SEC Tournament.

So Kentucky is trying to "avenge" that sweep, or something, when the teams meet Friday (1 p.m., SEC Network / WatchESPN) in the quarterfinals of the 2015 SEC Tournament.

But three-sweeping Florida's really nothing new for the 'Cats.

As Adam Silverstein pointed out on Thursday, Kentucky's swept Florida in three meetings in a single season four times, all since 1995. And those first two sweeps weren't even close: Kentucky won all three games by double digits in both 1995 and 1996, dropping a 100-76 win on Lon Kruger's Gators in the 1996 SEC Tournament.

But all three of the three-sweeps since — Kentucky's in 2004 and 2012, and Florida's in 2014 — have had at least one very close game. The Wildcats beat Florida by three at the O'Dome in 2004, and by three in a fantastic game in the 2012 SEC Tournament, while Florida capped its rampage through the SEC in 2014 with a one-point win in last year's SEC Tournament final.

Kentucky's two wins this year have come by six and 17 points. If history is predictive, we're due for another one-possession thriller on this Friday in Nashville.

But, of course, that would be easier to predict if Florida had more firepower to work with heading into this game. Dorian Finney-Smith appears to be peaking, but Michael Frazier II visibly struggled to get elevation on his shot and explosion as a driver against Alabama on Friday, finishing 1-for-10 from the field, and there's no other consistent secondary scoring option on Florida's roster; the Gators sort of have to hope that Eli Carter gets hot or Kasey Hill dices up Kentucky's defense as he did just last Saturday in Rupp Arena if they want to keep pace with the Wildcats.

And while I might worry about rust after a five-day layoff with a lesser Kentucky team, I think this this one might be raring to go ... even though its longest layoff of the year was followed by a closer-than-it-should-have-been overtime win against Mississippi in Rupp to begin SEC play. Florida also matches up poorly with the gargantuan Kentucky front line, and it will be incumbent on Jon Horford and Chris Walker to defend effectively without fouling, something both players have struggled to do this season.

If everything falls into place, I still think this Florida team — which is playing hard, and for its slim chances of making the NCAA Tournament by winning the SEC Tournament — is talented enough to take down Kentucky. But I also think it's more likely that everything will fall apart.

Prove me wrong, Gators. Please.