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February 8, 2007

Talk about rivalry week! ESPN is excited about this series of games, and it is so special. After games like Texas-Texas A&M and the best of the best, Duke-North Carolina, Saturday night figures to be a real battle.

That's right SEC fans, it culminates this weekend with Kentucky and Florida at Rupp Arena.

Our Gameday crew heads out to Lexington for the prime time special. Tubby Smith and Billy Donovan both sat on the sidelines for the Wildcats under Rick Pitino. They were part of a great staff that included Herb Sendek and Ralph Willard. Wow, four guys coaching on the Division I level.

It is always special when these two potential SEC powerhouses meet. It is never easy to get a W on the road in the conference, especially when visiting Rupp Arena. Kentucky fans are so passionate when cheering for its 'Cats, baby! I really feel they are the most passionate fans in all of college basketball.

You have to believe that Joe Crawford, Ramel Bradley, Randolph Morris and company will be at their best. Anything less than an "A" performance will be a tough, tough evening for the 'Cats. Tubby Smith's squad must respond in a big-time fashion. It may need a perfect performance to upset the Gator machine.

You know that Rupp Arena will be rocking and rolling when the national champions come to town. There is also the revenge factor since Florida won at Lexington last season, 79-64. Joakim Noah had 15 points and 11 rebounds while Lee Humphrey had 17 points.

Tubby will remind his team that the Gators have won four straight meetings, the last three by double figures. It should be a great environment and I can't wait to call the contest!

Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in December 1979. Send him a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.

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