FLORIDA GATORS (22-4)
at TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS (16-10)
Thompson-Boling Arena Ė Knoxville, TN
Tip-off: Tuesday, 9:00 p.m. ET
Line: Florida -9, Total: 124
Red-hot Tennessee will get its one shot against Florida this season, hosting the No. 8 Gators Tuesday night in Knoxville.
These two teams usually meet twice every season, and last season the Volunteers upset Florida both times for wins SU and ATS, as underdogs of 7.5 points and 12 points. Overall, Tennessee has covered in three of its past four meetings with the Gators. But doing so against this yearís Florida squad will be difficult, as it is one of the best offensive and defensive teams in the country. The Gators rank eighth nationally in field-goal percentage (49.2%) and third in points against average, yielding a pithy 53.1 points per game on 37.3% shooting (7th in D-I). However, after Florida won its first seven SEC games SU and ATS, they have since struggled against the lines, going 2-5 ATS. And after losing four in a row ATS at one point in conference play, the Volunteers have since turned it around, winning five in a row, both SU and ATS. Tennessee has struggled to cover on its home floor though (5-6-1 ATS) while the Gators have proven to be road warriors (7-3 SU and ATS).
Can Florida cover the hefty spread on the road Monday night? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. StatFox Gary is 54% ATS (87-74-4) for college basketball Best Bets this season. StatFox Dave is 6-3 ATS (67%) in the past three days, and is 52.1% ATS (146-134-5) for the season. StatFox Brian has been 50% ATS or better in five of the past seven days.
Florida SG Kenny Boynton (12.9 PPG, 3.2 APG) will have to improve his play to avoid losses like the ones the Gators suffered last season to the Volunteers. In those two games, Boynton scored 14.5 PPG, but combined to shoot 8-for-22 (36%) from the floor. He has gone through similar struggles recently, hitting just 27-of-78 (35%) field goals in seven games this month. SG Mike Rosario (13.0 PPG) leads the Florida offense in points and has picked up the offensive slack, averaging 17.0 PPG in his past three contests and scoring at least a dozen points in eight straight games. PG Scottie Wilbekin (9.1 PPG, 5.4 APG) rounds out the backcourt and isnít the best scorer, but runs the point well (2.71 Ast/TO ratio) and knows how to defend with 1.6 SPG. In addition to that backcourt trio, PF Erik Murphy (12.5 PPG, 4.8 RPG) may be the best outside shooter on the team, knocking down 48% of his three-pointers. C Patric Young (10.3 PPG, 6.5 RPG) mans the post, coming off a 14-point, 7-rebound effort against Arkansas in which he made 7-of-10 field goals to improve his season percentage to 61% FG.
Junior PG Trae Golden led the Volunteers last season against Florida, averaging 14.5 PPG (8-for-15 FG) and 7.0 APG in the two wins. Golden (12.3 PPG) has struggled from beyond the arc this season (29% threes) but has been incredible lately, averaging 25.3 PPG in his past three games. That includes a 32-point effort in the teamís quadruple OT win at Texas A&M on Saturday. SG Jordan McRae (14.9 PPG) is the teamís leading scorer this season and has also been hot, averaging 28.5 PPG in his past two contests. That includes a 34-point effort against LSU last Tuesday in which he hit 13-of-18 field goals and was a perfect 6-for-6 from deep. PF Jarnell Stokes (12.8 PPG, 9.0 RPG) will bear the burden of battling Murphy and Young on the boards, and appears up to the task, with eight double-doubles in his past nine games, averaging 16.3 PPG and 11.8 RPG during this span.