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No. 1 Florida’s undefeated SEC season not just a by-product of their league

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For the first time in SEC history, a team has finished the season 18-0 as Florida validated their No. 1 ranking with an 84-65 win over No. 25 Kentucky on Saturday afternoon.

Patric Young led four players in double-figures with 18 points and seven boards, while Scottie Wilbekin added 13 points and four assists. The senior point guard also knocked down the biggest shot of the game — something we’ve become accustomed to — when he hit a three that ended a 15-0 Kentucky run that cut a 21-point deficit to just six. The Wildcats never got closer than eight the rest of the way.

We already knew that Florida was the best team in the country entering the final weekend of the regular season, so it’s not like pounding a reeling Kentucky team tells us anything that we didn’t already know about the Gators.

What it did, however, was give anyone unfamiliar with the Gators a blueprint of just what they are capable of.

RELATED: How should we view Kentucky now?

This team can be stifling defensively. They can go man or zone. They can press or play in the half court. They can switch all exchanges 1-4, and the only thing they do better than defend ball-screens is execute ball-screen actions offensively. More importantly, this is a team that doesn’t have a weakness offensively. Young led the way with 18 points tonight, a game after Michael Frazier II, who had nine points in the first half, went for 37 while hitting 11 triples. Casey Prather is their leading scorer on the season, but Wilbekin is their best player on the offensive end. I still haven’t mentioned Dorian Finney-Smith, who had 11 points, six boards, four assists, two steals and two blocks on Saturday while hitting 3-4 from beyond the arc. His ability to be a pick-and-pop stretch-four makes him the x-factor for this group.

The most impressive part about this team?

In a season that started with the hype about Andrew Wiggins and ended with the Kansas freshman putting together one of the most impressive performances of the season, Florida’s two McDonald’s all-american freshmen have been relegated to roles off the bench.

That’s how good this group is.

They may not end up winning a national title, but trust me when I tell you that their 23-game winning streak is not simply a result of the SEC being down.

Watch Lists for Cousy, West, Erving and Malone Awards

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The Naismith Hall of Fame today released the watch lists for their awards for the best point guard, shooting guard, small forward and power forward. Centers will be released on Friday.

Here they are:

Bob Cousy Award Watch List:

  • Kyle Collinsworth, Brigham Young University
  • Tyrone Wallace, California
  • Maodo Lo, Columbia
  • Xavier Rathan-Mayes, Florida State
  • D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Georgetown
  • Juan’ya Green, Hofstra
  • Yogi Ferrell, Indiana
  • Monte Morris, Iowa State
  • Frank Mason, Kansas
  • Tyler Ulis, Kentucky
  • Melo Trimble, Maryland
  • Marcus Paige, North Carolina
  • Demetrius Jackson, Notre Dame
  • Gary Payton, Jr., Oregon State
  • Kris Dunn, Providence
  • Carson Puriefoy, Stony Brook
  • Jalen Brunson, Villanova
  • Ryan Arcidiacono, Villanova
  • Fred VanVleet, Wichita State
  • Bronson Koenig, Wisconsin

Jerry West Award Watch List:

  • Allonzo Trier, Arizona
  • Anthony Drmic, Boise State
  • Kellen Dunham, Butler
  • Jordan Matthews, California
  • Grayson Allen, Duke
  • Dwayne Bacon, Florida State
  • Marvell Harris, Fresno State
  • James Blackmon, Indiana
  • AJ English, Iona
  • Antonio Blakeney, Louisiana State
  • Rasheed Sulaimon, Maryland
  • Sheldon McClellan, Miami
  • Caris Levert, Michigan
  • Malik Newman, Mississippi State
  • Buddy Hield, Oklahoma
  • E.C. Matthews, Rhode Island
  • Danuel House, Texas A&M
  • Melvin Johnson, Virginia Commonwealth
  • Malcom Brogdon, Virginia
  • Ron Baker, Wichita State

Julius Erving Award Watch List:

  • Jaylen Brown, California
  • Daniel Hamilton, Connecticut
  • Rodney Purvis, Connecticut
  • Brandon Ingram, Duke
  • John Brown, High Point
  • Troy Williams, Indiana
  • Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, Kansas
  • Wayne Selden, Jr., Kansas
  • Alex Poythress, Kentucky
  • Damion Lee, Louisville
  • Ben Simmons, Louisiana State
  • Jake Layman, Maryland
  • Denzel Valentine, Michigan State
  • Justin Jackson, North Carolina
  • DeAndre Bembry, Saint Joseph’s
  • Malik Pope, San Diego State
  • Michael Gbinije, Syracuse
  • D.J. Hogg, Texas A&M
  • Brandon Taylor, Utah
  • Nigel Hayes, Wisconsin

Karl Malone Award Watch List:

  • Rico Gathers, Baylor
  • Taurean Prince, Baylor
  • Ivan Rabb, California
  • Tony Parker, UCLA
  • Dorian Finney-Smith, Florida
  • Kyle Wiltjer, Gonzaga
  • Georges Niang, Iowa State
  • Perry Ellis, Kansas
  • Shawn Long, Louisiana-Lafayette
  • Henry Ellenson, Marquette
  • Shaq Goodwin, Memphis
  • Brice Johnson, North Carolina
  • Beejay Anya, North Carolina State
  • Ryan Spangler, Oklahoma
  • Caleb Swanigan, Purdue
  • Markus Kennedy, SMU
  • Jameel Warney, Stony Brook
  • Jordan Loveridge, Utah
  • Alec Peters, Valporasio
  • Anton Grady, Wichita State

UNLV to host NBA scouting combine

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UNLV is the latest to join in the trend of hosting their own NBA scouting combine, following in the footsteps of Kentucky and LSU.

The Runnin’ Rebels will hold their event on October 23rd and 24th at the Mendenhall Center, UNLV’s practice facility, sources told NBCSports.com. The expectation is that all 30 NBA teams will be in attendance.

The Runnin’ Rebels once again have a stockpile of pro talent on their roster. Stephen Zimmermann is projected as a lottery pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, while the likes of Goodluck Okonoboh, Patrick McCaw, Dwayne Morgan Jr. and Derrick Jones are talented enough that they will get plenty of attention from NBA scouts during the upcoming season.

Kentucky hosted their scouting combine over the weekend, with as many as 70 NBA scouts reportedly in attendance. LSU is holding their combine this week.

ESPN.com was the first to report the news.