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No. 1 Florida seeks 20th straight win Tuesday
By: Robert Livingston - StatFox
Published: 2/25/2014  at  6:08:00 AM
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Memorial Gym - Nashville, TN
Tip-off: Tuesday, 7:00 p.m. ET
Line: Florida -8, Total: 124

Newly minted No. 1 Florida will put its top-billing on the line for the first time on Tuesday night when it travels to Vanderbilt.

The Gators have now rattled off 19 SU consecutive wins (7-10-1 ATS) since losing by one point to Connecticut, including wins against Kansas, Memphis and at Kentucky. They have yet to lose in SEC play (14-0 SU) despite a 6-8 ATS mark. Overall, Florida is 10-11-2 ATS and 4-4-1 ATS on the road. They have lost two straight ATS, being favored by more than seven in each contest, while beating 16-point underdog Auburn by five points, and topping Ole Miss by just four points. However, the Gators are 62-35 ATS (64%) after failing to cover in two or more consecutive games under head coach Billy Donovan. The Commodores enter this one with three losses in their past five games (SU and ATS), giving them a 7-7 SU mark (8-5-1 ATS) in conference action. They are 14-10-1 ATS overall and 6-6-1 ATS at home, earning a 10-6 ATS mark as underdogs this year. Vanderbilt has played only one ranked team all season, losing 71-62 at home against Kentucky, narrowly covering a 9.5-point spread. But Vandy is 9-0 ATS against teams outrebounding their opponents by 4+ RPG this season, and Florida is outrebounding its opponents by a hefty +5.7 RPG margin this season. When these two teams met last season, the Gators easily covered a 19.5-point spread in a 66-40 victory, shooting 49% from the floor. However, the last time these two teams played in Nashville, the Commodores won 77-67 as 3.5-point favorites, shooting a blistering 52% FG and 12-of-24 threes.

Can top-ranked Florida cover the big point spread on the road? For the latest college basketball picks, check out The Platinum Sheet for all the StatFox Experts selections every week throughout the entire 2013-14 season. The StatFox Experts have been rolling in college basketball Best Bets this season with a stellar 60% ATS (229-155-13) mark, including a hefty 62% ATS (197-121-7) record since Nov. 23. StatFox Brian is at 68% ATS (52-24-3) in Best Bets for the season, 87% ATS (20-3-2) since Jan. 17 and 73% ATS (45-17-2) since Nov. 26. StatFox Dave is 61% ATS (48-31-1) for the season and 66% ATS (31-16) since Dec. 18, while StatFox Zach is 55% ATS (41-34-4) on Best Bets this season, including 57% ATS (35-27-3) since Nov. 22. StatFox Scott is 58% ATS (45-32-3) for the season and 60% ATS (35-23-3) since Dec. 2, while StatFox Gary is 56% ATS (43-34-2) for the season, and 60% ATS (37-25) since Nov. 29.

Floridaís offense averages a pedestrian 71.3 PPG (180th in Div. I) on 45.8% shooting (104th in nation) with 13.1 APG (146th in Div. I) this season, but Billy Donovanís squad makes its name on the defensive end, where it yields 58.7 PPG (8th in nation) on 40.0% shooting. The keys to those defensive efforts are a few players who are extremely athletic, but do not necessarily put up big points. Senior C Patric Young (10.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG) is a monster down low, while a pair of athletic forwards, PF Dorian Finney-Smith (8.9 PPG, 7.0 RPG) and SF Will Yeguete (5.4 PPG, 5.3 RPG), adds solid rebounding and physical defense. Young had 14 points (6-of-7 FG), four boards and three blocks in only 24 minutes in last season's blowout win over Vanderbilt, as the Gators held their opponent to 26.9% shooting. PG Scottie Wilbekin (13.8 PPG, 3.8 APG) runs the offense with a decent 2.0 Ast/TO ratio and averages a team-high 1.5 SPG. He is also on fire offensively with 15+ points in six straight games (18.7 PPG) where he's gone to the line 52 times (8.7 per game) and made 83% of his free-throw attempts. Senior SF Casey Prather (15.4 PPG, 5.4 RPG) leads the team in scoring while SG Michael Frazier II (12.3 PPG, 3.4 RPG) rounds out the teamís double-digit scorers. Frazier is the teamís top outside shooter, hitting 2.9 threes per game on a 42.3% clip.

Vanderbiltís slow offense puts up unimpressive totals with 66.5 PPG (285th in Div. I) on 44.3% shooting (183rd in nation) and 32.2% threes. The defense isnít always good enough to always make up for it either, but still holds opponents to 65.2 PPG (52nd in Div. I) on 40.1% shooting and 29.9% threes (20th in Div. I). No current Commodores player broke double-digits in last season's game against Florida. Senior SF Rod Odom (14.2 PPG, 5.7 RPG) is the teamís top scorer, playing a grueling 35.9 MPG. Odom can be dangerous from all over the court, hitting 2.9 threes per game (41% threes), but struggled mightily in last yearís meeting in Gainesville, making just 1-of-8 shots and 1-of-6 threes. Senior PG Kyle Fuller (11.6 PPG, 4.5 APG) is the teamís top assist getter, though he has struggled mightily as a scorer, making only 38% of his shots and 27% of his long-range attempts. Freshman C Damian Jones (11.6 PPG, 5.8 RPG) rounds out the teamís double-digit scorers, but will be more important on the glass, where he leads the team and has 8.5 RPG in his past four games. Jones hasnít missed many shots this month either, averaging 13.3 PPG on 67% FG (36-of-54). He and junior SF James Siakam (7.8 PPG, 5.4 RPG), who averages a team-high 1.5 BPG, will face a tough battle down low against Floridaís bruising frontcourt. Siakam is playing well recently though, averaging 10.0 PPG and 8.3 RPG in his past three contests.

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