No. 4 Florida Gators vs. No. 5 Virginia Cavaliers Preview
Where: Amway Center — Orlando, Florida
When: Saturday, March 18, 2017 – 8:40 PM ET
Line: Florida Gators (-2) vs. Virginia Cavaliers (+2); total: 125.5 – view all NCAA Basketball lines
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Betting on the Florida Gators (25-8, 14-4 SEC)
Florida had no trouble dispatching East Tennessee State in the opening round. They eased past the Buccaneers, 80-65, with Devin Robinson recording a game-high 24 points, seven rebounds, and a pair of blocks. Kasey Hill joined in the fun as well, producing all-around numbers of 14 points, six rebounds, and five assists.
The one guy missing, as you might have noticed if you watched the game, was the Gators leading scorer, Kevaughn Allen (13.7 PPG). The sophomore couldn’t buy a basket for the whole contest, as he only made one of his 11 shots.
Robinson and Hill have the rhythm to perform well again, but it is a bit be concerning that Allen disappeared against an unheralded, unranked, and unknown team. You can only do better after such a lowly performance, although it’s definitely a question mark if he could really bounce back opposite Virginia’s elite-ranked defense.
The Gators are 15-5 in their last 20 games (11-9 ATS). They put up 78.3 PPG, rank in the top 40 in the nation in steals and blocks, and like the Cavaliers, they are a top-notch defensive unit (fifth in efficiency).
Betting on the Virginia Cavaliers (23-10, 11-7 ACC)
Often-criticized for having a weak offense, Virginia advanced in the first round using a strong attack. They beat the the aggressive O of UNC-Wilmington, 76-71, with London Perrantes leading all scorers – 24 points on 9-for-14 shooting. His key scoring partner, Marial Shayok, also came up big, contributing a season-high 23 points.
The 76 points that the team scored was their highest point total in over a month.
Defensively, the Hoos are easily one of the nation’s best – Kenpom.com even rates them second overall in defensive efficiency. They are a master in slowing down the pace and messing their opponents’ rhythm, so the offense they displayed during last Thursday’s game is probably all they need to go several notches higher in the current college basketball tier.
That, of course, is where the problem comes in, because they can’t seem to give a consistently good showing on offense. Perrantes (12.9 PPG, 3.9 APG) is, for the most part, the only guy that they have in terms of scoring and he’s obviously not going to be enough when they meet the real run-and-guns of the league.
Virginia is 5-1 in their last six games (4-2 ATS). However, the 66.9 PPG they currently average is the lowest among all of the teams in the tournament.
Florida’s offense outlasts Virginia, 66-61.
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