Florida Gators (21-6) +4 151 O/U at No. 18 LSU Tigers (23-4)
Baton Rouge, L.A., 6:00PM Eastern, Tuesday
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
The SEC has nearly been unmentionable on the basketball floor this season as they have had a down year for the top programs in the conference. However, two teams that have been solid all season will square off on Tuesday night to battle it out for conference supremacy. The No. 18 LSU Tigers sports a very strong 11-1 mark in conference play which is a good 3 games ahead of 2nd place Florida. The Gators lead the SEC East with a record of 8-4 in conference play and they will attempt to take down the Tigers on their home floor. The Tigers on the other hand could clinch the SEC regular season title with a win on Tuesday as they continue to try and finish the year strong riding an 8 game winning streak heading into the contest.
LSU heads into the battle with Florida averaging 76 points per game. The Tigers have had a lot of success against the glass this season as they lead the conference in rebounding posting 40 boards per game. LSU has one of the highest rebounding margins in college basketball as they have out rebounded opposing teams by nearly 8 rebounds per game and they will attempt to use that advantage to capture a victory against the Florida Gators this Tuesday. Both teams are among the better scoring teams in the country, but it will be interesting to see who comes out ready to play. The Tigers beat Florida in their only meeting last year 85-73 and will be looking for similar results this time around.
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Florida on the other hand has been rather unpredictable team for much of the season. The Gators won 10 straight games through the mid-point of the season before losing 4 of their next 7. Florida sports a top 20 scoring offense that also ranks 2nd in the conference behind South Carolina with 79.3 points per game for the season. Sophomore Nick Calathes leads the Gators dangerous scoring attack. Calathes is a 66 strong shooter who is averaging 18.6 points per game and shooting 50% from the field. The impressive sophomore has also knocked down 42% from behind the arc this season and will be the leading component for the Gators to put together a winning formula in Baton Rouge.
Sportsbetting.com has the betting line has started this game off fairly close with the LSU Tigers being favored by a mere 4 points over the visiting Florida Gators. The total for the game is posted fairly high due to both teams scoring potential and rest at the 151 mark.
The Gators have won two straight since their back to back losses from Kentucky and Georgia. Florida is among 3 SEC East teams that are tied at 8-4. If the Gators, can manage the win it could really improve their chances at a higher seed in March as the Tigers are the only school ranked inside the Top 25. However, the Florida defense has not played extremely well this season giving up 68 points per game and allowing teams to shoot 45% from the floor; two totals that both rank in the bottom half of the country. If the Gators can slow down Marcus Thornton and the Tigers, perhaps they can put themselves in position for the tough victory on the road.
LSU is led by 3 different players averaging double figures. Senior guard Marcus Thornton leads the team in scoring averaging 20 points on the season along with 5 rebounds. Thornton has scored 22 plus points in 5 of the last 6 games and could have another big night in store for Tuesday especially if the scoring gets high. Junior forward Tasmin Mitchell is another dangerous threat for the Tigers. Mitchell gives LSU a solid inside presence posting 17 points and 8 rebounds. The other Tiger in double figures is that of sophomore guard Bo Spencer. Spencer is an unpolished talent that likely will develop into an outstanding guard. On the season, Spencer has shot the ball well from 3 point range this season knocking down 43% to carry his 12 point average. These 3 talented players will attempt to lock up the SEC regular season title this Tuesday night.
LSU has won 5 of the last 7 meetings against Florida, but the teams have been dead even at 5-5 ATS in their last 10 games while also splitting the over/under total at 4-4 in their last 8 games as well.
Jays Pick: Florida +4.