Bilas: Allen needs to be assertive for Gators vs. Kentucky


ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas was asked about key battles entering Saturday’s matchup between No. 24 Florida and No. 8 Kentucky.

Bilas didn’t hesitate with a response.

“The key guy for Florida is KeVaughn Allen,” Bilas said. “He’s got to play really well. When you are not a prolific scoring team, your best scorer has got to score. If he’s constantly looking to score, he opens things up for others and that’s important.”

The 6-foot-2 Allen still needs to prodded from time to time to put up shots, but has been more assertive in his sophomore season at UF’s starting shooting guard. Allen is averaging a team-high 13.6 points per game while shooting 40.8 percent from 3-point range.

“I know that’s not how he’s built as a person,” Bilas said. “He’s a humbe quiet kid, but you can’t afford to be humble and quiet on the floor. You have to play. He has the ability. He just has to be assertive on every play. If he is, it opens things up for his other teammates.”

Bilas will call Saturday night’s Florida-Kentucky game (8:15 p.m. ESPN) with Dan Shulman and will take part in the ESPN CollegeGameDay basketball show that will air from 11 a.m. to noon on ESPN from the newly-renovated O’Connell Center.

Bilas said that while Kentucky is more talented than Florida, he feels the Gators are capable of pulling off an upset against the Wildcats and picking up their first win against a ranked team this season.

“They’ve got lottery talent on their team so they’re the more talented group,” Bilas said. “But Florida is a really good defensive team. They play really hard and I think they’ve come a long way from last year. So I think they match up well, especially with Florida playing here.”