Not long after that, Florida beat UK in the regular season and then knocked off the Wildcats in the SEC Tournament. Now Conley's insight looks even better after the two 15-point wins the Gators have posted over the Cats this year thanks primarily to the play of their sophomore standouts.
"They may have had four McDonald's All-Americans, but we think we can play, too," said Florida sophomore Al Horford. "We feel like we are just as good, or better, than them. We've got a good group of players that can do some big things if we just stay together."
Florida's sophomores — Horford, Corey Brewer, Joakim Noah and Taurean Green — combined for 42 points, 23 rebounds, 13 assists and five blocked shots in Sunday's 79-14 win over Kentucky. UK's sophomores — Bradley did not play because of an injury — had 39 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and one blocked shot.
"I don't think I would trade our sophomores for any other group of sophomores in the country," said Florida junior Lee Humphrey. "They contribute so many ways to our team and are a huge part of our success. They all know how to play basketball the right way and they all care about winning more than anything else. They may not have been that well known when they got to college, but they are going to be pretty well known by the time they leave."
Noah has emerged as the most talented of the group and has an edge over Morris because he's been a more consistent rebounder. Green has shown he's the equal of Rondo because he has an outside shot to go with his quickness and court savvy. Rondo might be more explosive going to the basket, but as the Gators proved, teams can back off him to take away his penetration because he does not have a consistent outside shot.
"There's nothing wrong with Kentucky's sophomores," Humphrey said. "They are all great players. But right now I just don't think anybody has a better group of sophomores than us."
After watching the Gators beat Kentucky four straight times, certainly no one at UK can disagree.