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A disappointing Florida squad meets Alabama in an SEC battle on Saturday. The Gators are coming off a 66-57 win over Vanderbilt to halt a three-game losing streak. That placed them at 5-6 and tied with Arkansas for 9th place in the SEC. The Crimson Tide fell at Mississippi State on Tuesday, 81-62 to stop a two-game winning streak.
Defense has to be strong because the offense is weak
In their three-game losing streak, Florida averaged just 59 points per game. They’ve scored over 70 points just twice in their last 10 games, so in order to win games, the Gators’ defense needs to hold teams to under 70 points and in some cases, under 60. In their 66-57 win over Vanderbilt on Wednesday, the defense was on form, holding the Commodores to just 35.3 percent shooting and 5-of-24 (20.8%) from long range. Freshman guard Keyontae Johnson led the Gators with 15 points and nine boards. But this was a brutal offensive performance led by 33.3 percent shooting from the floor including a combined 2 for 19 from Noah Locke and KeVaughn Allen.
— Gators Men’s Basketball (@GatorsMBK) February 14, 2019
Allen leads the Gators in scoring with 12.5 points per game, in field goal percentage (39.9%), and steals (1.5). Defensively, the Gators are one of the best in the SEC if not the nation. They allow just 63.5 points per game (19th) on 41.7 percent shooting (31.6% 3pt). Offensively, it’s a struggle as the Gators are averaging just 68.3 points per game on 41.5 percent shooting (310th) and 34.1 percent 3-point shooting.
Off-night in Starkville
Alabama is 6-5 in the SEC and has a 44 Net Ranking. That’s actually two below Florida, despite their 12-11 record, though the Crimson Tide are listed as a 10th seed in the latest Bracketology from DRatings.com and Florida is not listed at all. On Tuesday from Starkville, they just didn’t have it against Mississippi State. Kira Lewis Jr. led the Tide with 17 points and five boards, but Alabama shot just 43.1 percent from the field (7-24). They also received very little from their bench (five points). The Bulldogs made 49.2 percent of their shots and 7-of-15 from beyond the arc. The Bulldogs had a 28-5 advantage in points off of turnovers.
“It just wasn’t one of our better nights on the road,” Alabama coach Avery Johnson said. “Whenever you turn it over 18 times on the road, it leads to 28 points and another game where we got outrebounded, you’re going to have a tough time winning. Give (Mississippi State) credit.”
Lewis leads the Tide in scoring with 14.4 points and 2.9 assists. Alabama is averaging 75.3 points per game on 45.4 percent shooting (34.5% 3pt). They allow 72.6 points per game on 44.4 percent shooting (34.3% 3pt). They struggle in assist/turnover ratio at 0.9 (9th in SEC) and they commit 13.6 per game (8th in SEC).
- 6-2 ATS last 8 vs. SEC.
- 6-1-1 ATS last 8 home games.
- 0-7 ATS last 7 overall.
- 0-6 ATS last 6 after an ATS loss.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Florida has a good history in this series, especially on the road. But this is a different Gators’ squad. They are not very good this season, especially on the road. They’ve are 0-7 ATS their last 7 and have lost their last two on the road by double digits. On the other side, Alabama has been a strong team at home, averaging 79.4 points per game and shooting 46.1 percent from the field. Take ‘Bama at home in what will be an easy win.
Prediction: Alabama -3.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Florida just can’t score this season. They are averaging 68.3 points per game overall, but a measly 60 points on the road, while shooting 37.2 percent from the field. Alabama does a nice job against the three-point shot, especially at home, where they are allowing teams to shoot 28.7 percent. Florida is 23-8 Under their last 31 after an ATS loss. and 20-8 Under their last 28 road games. Alabama is 6-2 Under their last 8 vs. the SEC.
Prediction: Under 134.5