OLE MISS REBELS (25-8)
vs. FLORIDA GATORS (27-6)
Southeastern Conference Tournament - Championship Game
Bridgestone Arena – Nashville, TN
Tip-off: Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET
Line: Florida -11, Total: 135
After a furious second-half comeback on Saturday, No. 13 Florida tries to cap off its SEC Tournament run with a victory over Ole Miss in Sunday's conference championship game.
The Gators overcame a 10-point deficit in the second half of Saturday's semifinal game to defeat Alabama 61-51. They are now 11-6 SU (9-8 ATS) in non-home games this season and 16-4 SU (11-9 ATS) in all SEC contests. One night after erasing a 14-point, second-half deficit in a two-point win over Missouri, Ole Miss turned a halftime tie into a 12-point victory over Vanderbilt in Saturday's semifinals, winning 64-52. The Rebels are now 4-0 SU (3-1 ATS) in their past four games since their shocking loss at 12-point underdog Mississippi State on March 2. These schools met just once this season, a 78-64 Florida win in Gainesville on Feb. 2, which gave the Gators their 11th win in the past 12 meetings in this series. However, the Rebels are 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings with Florida, including three straight covers.
Can Ole Miss stay close to the Gators on Sunday? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The experts are a collective 70% ATS (28-12-1) in the past three days and are 65% ATS (60-33-2) since March 9, with StatFox Gary going 73% ATS (11-4), StatFox Brian posting a 65% ATS mark (17-9-1), StatFox Dave also at 65% ATS (15-8) and StatFox Scott winning 59% ATS (17-12-1) since March 9. Gary has a 67% ATS record (22-11) since Feb. 27 to improve to 56% ATS (109-86-4) for college basketball Best Bets this season. Dave's 80% ATS (8-2) mark over the past three days moves him to 61% ATS (26-17) since Feb. 28, and 52.4% ATS (172-156-5) for the season.
Ole Miss has been relying heavily on SG Marshall Henderson in this SEC Tournament, as Henderson scored 27 of his team's 64 points on Friday, making 8-of-18 shots (4-of-12 threes). In Saturday's win, Henderson scored a game-high 23 points on 7-of-17 shooting (3-of-11 threes). But just as important for the Rebels in the win over Vandy was the play of starting forwards Reginald Buckner (15 points, nine rebounds) and Murphy Holloway (12 points, eight rebounds) who combined to make 11-of-16 FG, but just 5-of-15 free throws. Ole Miss has shot a horrible 52% from the line in this tournament, as Henderson is 13-of-15 and his teammates are just 14-of-37 (38%). PG Derrick Millinghaus scored 11 points on Friday, including the game-winning layup with 1.1 seconds left on the clock. But the 5-foot-10 freshman was held scoreless on Saturday, going 0-for-5 from the floor (0-for-4 threes). Ole Miss was two-man show in its loss at Florida on Feb. 2 as Henderson scored 25 points (7-of-11 threes) and Holloway scored 15 points and grabbed seven boards. But Holloway made just 5-of-16 shots that night, and SG Ladarius White was even worse at 2-of-10 FG. White hasn't been much better in Nashville with a 4-of-15 FG clip in the two SEC Tournament games.
Florida is a much more balanced team than Ole Miss with four double-digit scorers. Senior PG Kenny Boynton was in a two-game slump (5.5 PPG on 5-of-17 FG) before busting out with 11 points during a decisive 15-0 run in the second half versus Alabama, finishing with 16 points on 6-of-12 FG in that semifinal win. C Patric Young (13 points, nine rebounds) and SG Mike Rosario (10 points) were the other double-digit scorers on Saturday. PG Scottie Wilbekin scored just four points, but had four assists and one turnover. Florida was able to make up for a poor shooting day (44% FG, 3-of-17 threes) by committing just four turnovers versus Alabama. But the Gators had little trouble scoring in the Feb. 2 win over Ole Miss (52% FG, 38% threes), as PF Erik Murphy lit up the Rebels for 19 points on 7-of-8 FG (5-of-6 threes) with six rebounds. Rosario (14 pts, 6-of-10 FG), Young (13 pts, 6-of-8 FG) and Wilbekin (13 pts, 6-of-15 FG) all shot well against Ole Miss too, helping make up for Boynton's dreadful 3-of-13 afternoon. However, Boynton registered a game-high nine assists, which nearly doubled the entire Rebels team that managed just five assists and 13 turnovers for the game.