FLORIDA GATORS (12-2)
at TEXAS A&M AGGIES (12-3)
Tip-off: Thursday, 7:00 p.m. ET
Line: Florida -10, Total: 122.5
Surging No. 10 Florida makes its first SEC trip to College Station when it visits a red-hot Texas A&M squad on Thursday night.
Both schools have won four straight games, with the Gators covering the past three and the Aggies going 2-0 ATS during the win streak. Florida won those games by 21, 33 and 22 points, while Texas A&M has allowed just 59.0 PPG during its four-game surge. Although these teams are meeting for the first time as conference foes, they did square off in last year's Orange Bowl Classic in Sunrise, FL, a game the Gators won in a rout, 84-64.
Can the Gators win big at College Station on Thursday? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The StatFox experts have a collective 33-24 ATS (58%) mark in the past eight days, boosting them to 53% ATS (233-208-8) in college basketball Best Bets for the season, led by StatFox Gary, who sits at 59% ATS (54-38) for the season, while StatFox Dave is at 54.2% ATS (84-71-3) on the year. StatFox Scott is 51% ATS for the season, after going 59% ATS (10-7) since Jan. 7, and StatFox Brian is 67% ATS (6-3) in the past five days.
Florida turned last year's game into a rout from the opening tip, starting off with an 18-2 run and leading 50-25 at half. SG Kenny Boynton scored a game-high 22 points while PF Erik Murphy added 13 points on 4-of-6 FG. This duo has also paced the Gators this season with Boynton leading the club in scoring (13.8 PPG) and Murphy (12.0 PPG) as the team's best three-point shooter (43.6%). Boynton has 24.0 PPG (12-of-18 threes) in his past two road games, while Murphy has 14.7 PPG (7-of-16 threes) in his past three contests overall. Senior SG Mike Rosario (12.3 PPG) is shooting a career-best 45.8% FG and has 16.0 PPG over his past two games. And although he missed Saturday's win at LSU with a high ankle sprain, he is expected to play on Thursday. PG Scottie Wilbekin (finger) and SF Will Yeguete (knee) are also probable for this contest, but F/G Casey Prather (6.8 PPG on 66% FG) is out indefinitely with a sprained ankle. Wilbekin leads his team with 4.7 APG, dishing out 19 assists and just seven turnovers in three games this month. Yeguete (6.5 PPG, team-high 6.6 RPG) is coming off a double-double versus LSU with 10 points and 13 boards. Speaking of rebounding, C Patric Young (11.1 PPG, 6.4 RPG) has four double-digit rebounding games this season and has made at least half of his shots in every game this season, posting a 61% FG clip overall. He scored 14 points and pulled down seven rebounds in the win over the Tigers on Saturday.
Texas A&M's offense is not explosive by any stretch (66.7 PPG, 198th in D-I), but it doesn't take many bad shots with a 45.8% FG clip (66th in nation). Senior G Elston Turner (team-high 17.1 PPG) is coming off a marvelous performance in the win over Kentucky, scoring a career-best 40 points (14-of-19 FG, 6-of-10 threes) with six rebounds and four assists. Turner is making 47% of his shots this season, including 44.2% of his three-point attempts. He had a team-high-tying 20 points in last year's loss to Florida, knocking down 7-of-12 shots including 3-of-5 from long distance. But he will be guarded by Wilbekin on Thursday, regarded as one of the better on-ball defenders in the entire nation. Senior F Ray Turner is second on the team in scoring (11.4 PPG), making a career-high 58.2% of his shots this season. He's been plagued by foul trouble in his past two games though, scoring just 15 points in 33 combined minutes over this stretch. Another big body is 6-foot-9 sophomore PF Kourtney Roberson (6.5 PPG, 6.4 RPG) who has 11.5 PPG and 10.5 RPG in his past two contests. The other double-digit scorer for the Aggies is junior G Fabyon Harris (10.5 PPG), who has four straight games with 11+ points, averaging 13.5 PPG on 48.3% FG during this streak.