In tonight’s feature late action on ESPN2, a desperate 17-10 Florida Gator outfit travels to Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville to take on the 19-7 Tennessee Volunteers. With Auburn, Mississippi State, and Tennessee apparently safe with their tickets to the Big Dance punched, Florida is battling Alabama, LSU, and Kentucky for one or possible two at large bids in what many see as a four big league. The current Vegas line is Tennessee -4 with the total 137.5 for the 9:00 PM EST tip on the Deuce.
Florida has been an enigma and a team that players have found impossible to gauge. The Gators have wins against Gonzaga and Cincinnati and at the same time have lost to Ole Miss and South Carolina. Florida has four double-digit scorers led by Jalen Hudson (14.9) and Egor Koulechov (14.2) who both shoot 40% from beyond the arc. The Gators are No.4 in the SEC in offense and No.8 on defense.
Tennessee is having a break out year under ex-Texas mentor Rick Barnes. The Vols own an early season win over Purdue, swept the season series from Kentucky. The Vols do in it on defense where they are No.3 in the SEC allowing just 67.4 ppg. while scoring 75.2 ppg, good for No.9 in conference. The Vols also have four double-digit scorers led by 6’7″ Grant Willaims who averages 15.7 ppg. and is second on the team in rebounding, snagging 5.9 boards per game.
Florida has won five of six in the series but have lost its last two. Tennessee has won seven of nine and after a close loss early on to 23-4 Auburn, have won six straight home games. The Gators are 2-0 as road dogs this year while the Vols are 9-7 as home favorites and 12-9 vs. winning records. This is on the only meeting between the two teams this year. Florida won last year 83-70 (-12.5, 145.5) in Gainesville.
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