VAUGHT: Horford respects Kentucky

Florida junior center Al Horford refuses to gloat that his class has outplayed the more highly-touted recruiting class Kentucky had the same year.

Instead, he's content that the Gators won a national title last year and are once again considered the team to beat going into Saturday's game against Kentucky in Rupp Arena.

"Kentucky has always been the dominating basketball school in the SEC. It's always nice to beat a quality opponent like that, and probably beating Kentucky the way we have the last two years has helped our confidence," Horford said.

While Kentucky's recruiting class three years ago of Rajon Rondo, Randolph Morris, Joe Crawford and Ramel Bradley has had numerous off-court distractions, the Gators have meshed nicely.

"I think chemistry has a lot do with our success. Our guys are so competitive and want to be the best we can be and do our best every day. That's why we lay it all on the line every game," Horford said. "It just comes out to winning. Our guys have figured out that if you want to win, you have to do what it takes."

Horford is not surprised that UK has the SEC's second-best record going into Saturday's ESPN showdown.

"I don't think Kentucky is ever an underdog. They always have high expectations because of the program and tradition," Horford said. " I don't really see them ever having the year like we had last year where we came in unnoticed and won the championship. We know they are great team with great players and lot of experience. Everybody should be ready for them.

"I feel like they definitely are playing with a chip on their shoulder and are trying to prove something. If that's what it takes to get them going, then they should use it. We were out to prove something last year. I think we did feel disrespected. We wanted to be talked about. I feel we didn't get attention preseason-wise and we were out there trying to show people what we had. Maybe they are doing the same this year."

Horford is not surprised the Gators are unbeaten in SEC play.

"That was part of my expectations. I always wanted to be one of top teams in the SEC, and I feel we are at that position right now. We have so many teams in this league that are good. There is a lot of talent, but we expect to win even when we are playing in Rupp Arena," Horford said.

Horford is also looking forward to playing against Morris again.

"He definitely is among the best in the country. He is really a strong, strong player and is really physical. He would be at top of my list of top big men in the country," Horford said. "He is hard player to stop. He demands double teams. He has to make plays for other people on their team, too. Fans maybe don't see that. He demands lot of attention in the post and other players on the team benefit from that."

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