Even with two national championships, four Final Four appearances and the Southeastern Conference's first 18-0 regular-season record on his resume', Florida Coach Billy Donovan has always recoiled from the suggestion that he's achieved parity with Kentucky.
That's especially true this season.
When asked if there was a talent gap between Kentucky and Florida, he said, "Oh, I think there's a huge discrepancy. How much of a gap? I don't know how you would evaluate that. But I would say their talent level is better than anybody in the country right now, with the number of guys they have. But I wouldn't say it's just our team. It's everybody."
Kevin Brockway, who covers Florida for The Gainesville Sun, quantified the differences in the Kentucky and Florida rosters. In a story posted Thursday, he noted:
■ Kentucky has nine McDonald's All-Americans (that's counting Alex Poythress, who suffered season-ending injury in December). Florida has two, Chris Walker and Kasey Hill.
■ Since 2009, when John Calipari became coach, UK has signed 21 McDonald's All-Americans. Florida has signed five.
■ Since 2009, Kentucky has had five No. 1-rated recruiting classes, and one class ranked No. 2. Florida's highest-rated class in that time was No. 8 in 2013.
'Lot of answers'
Donovan noted the small margin of error for teams playing Kentucky.
"I think you have to try to play — against good teams — great team defense," he said. "It's important to play collectively and together as a group. They have a lot of answers on the floor and a lot of ways to beat you. Really good teams can beat you in a lot of ways. They can do it by offensive rebounds. They can do it by posting up. They can do it by making threes. They can do it with their defense and shot-blocking. They can do it by being stifling on the defense. They have a lot of answers. If one part of their game is not going well for them, they have a lot of things they can fall back on."
Florida ranks No. 134 in rebound margin (plus 1.9). Hence, rebounding is a point of emphasis going into Saturday's game against Kentucky.
"I think for us it's always a concern with some of the lack of size up front," Donovan said of rebounding.
Vanderbilt out-rebounded Florida 42-26 on Tuesday.
"I think coming into the year that was a major concern," Donovan said. "Certainly in the (Vanderbilt) game, (James) Siakam was really the difference there on the glass for Vanderbilt. Playing Kentucky on Saturday, they are going to have clearly a lot more size than Vanderbilt has, so that's certainly got to be an area of focus for us."
Of course, Kentucky was out-rebounded 36-24 by Georgia on Tuesday.
"You just have to be committed to 'I'm going to offensive rebound,'" Calipari said. "When you're two or three inches bigger than the guy you're playing against, you've just got to be committed. You can't top balls. You can't act like he blocked me out. Then let somebody else play. Then you're you.
"You either fight or let somebody else in there."
'A quirky character'
ESPN's College GameDay show will have a story on Willie Cauley-Stein. "A quirky character that loves art and fashion," ESPN said in a news release.
The Cauley-Stein segment will air during College GameDay at about 11:30 a.m. You can view a short preview of the segment below:
Perhaps reflecting the search for stability this season, Florida has started 10 different starting lineups. Ten different players have been in a starting lineup. Nine different players have been involved in the first substitution. By contrast, UK has had seven different players start a game. ... UK has lost eight of its last 10 games in Gainesville. ... Dan Shulman, Jay Bilas and Shannon Spake will call the game for ESPN.