In the SEC, more traditional basketball powers like Kentucky, and perhaps even Tennessee, often have the jump on other programs because of the luster of their accomplishments.
But no one should lose sight of the fact that the Florida Gators have won a couple of national titles (when Billy Donovan was the head coach) and they have been trying to claw their way back into the championship picture.
We're not sure that's going to happen this season, as the Gators have some fundamental things to sort out. But they can land some long-range shots, and they hope that can carry the mail as they play host to the Ole Miss Rebels in a game that begins at 7 PM ET at the O'Connell Center in Gainesville, FL.
SEC Network will televise, and remember that if you are a BetAnySports customer, you can place wagers on the game while you watch it, thanks to Sports Betting Prime.
OLE MISS REBELS at FLORIDA GATORS, 7 PM ET (Tuesday)
College Basketball Betting Line: Florida -3, Total 138
Each of Florida's three losses have come by double digits. And in these last two, which took place within the conference, there were some red flags. First there was the 86-71 defeat suffered at the hands of Alabama. Then the Gators lost 76-58 to a Kentucky team that, according to what we've seen, have not produced the most accomplished group of recruits for John Calipari.
Over the last two games, the Gators have made just 35.7% of their TWO-point shots. That is appalling, when you consider that the national average is 49.8%. And in that Kentucky game, they couldn't even take advantage of an experience edge. Florida does not have one freshman in their main rotation, while the Wildcats played with five, which would mean a little more if Calipari had a group of guys who really shot out of the gate. But he doesn't.
The Gators ARE fortunate that they can shoot from the outside. With 38.5% accuracy, they find themselves among the nation's top 30 teams. They may not shoot enough from there (just 33% of all attempts), but Ole Miss seems to push opponents out to that distance (39.3% of attempts against them).
Of course, one of the reasons for that is that the Rebels are extremely good defending inside the arc (allowing 42.8%). So don't be surprised if you see a more one-dimensional game, and maybe Tre Mann (13.6 points, 5.6 rebounds) plays a bigger part then usual. After all, he is probably their best three-point shooter (44%).
Maybe that is going to be the difference - Florida's ability to hit triples. Certainly Ole Miss (under 30%) doesn't have the ability to rely on it. But the Rebels can benefit from the "extras." They are going to force turnovers on the part of their opponents - ninth best in the nation, in fact - and they are going to get second-shot opportunities, because Florida has proven to be a poor team at blocking out.
We'll afford a sharp defensive edge to Ole Miss here - enough to take the points.
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