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Florida vs BYU Picks – BYU falls short one more time in the first round

Posted by Washington Tucker on 3/15/2010 2:55:18 PM

Online betting players are sketchy on BYU, as the Cougars haven’t won an NCAA Tournament game since 1993. They look solid this year, and they are favored against a balanced Florida team in Thursday’s opening game in Oklahoma City. The Gators don’t have a scorer like the Cougars do, but their defense and coaching will push them to the second round after missing the dance for two straight years.

  • What: NCAA Basketball Betting
  • When: Thursday, March 18, 12:20 PM ET
  • Where: Ford Center, Oklahoma City, OK
  • Key Stat: BYU has lost three straight years in the opening round

The Florida-BYU Storyline

The Gators earned the 10th seed in the West regional despite losing four of their last five games of the season (including a loss to Mississippi State in the SEC quarterfinals), and Florida had a couple of quality wins this season against the likes of Florida State, Michigan State and Tennessee, but losing to Richmond and South Alabama earlier in the season made some voters skeptical. Florida returns to the big dance after two straight NIT appearances, but the last time the Gators were at this point, it was to take the second half of their back-to-back titles in 2007.

The Cougars snatched the seventh seed after losing to UNLV in the semifinals of the Mountain West, but they’ve falling out in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in five of the last seven years, including three seasons in a row. The Cougars’ non-conference schedule wasn’t that strong, and they lost two games each to New Mexico and UNLV, two of their biggest challengers in the MWC.

Offensive Matchups

The Gators ended the regular season averaging 71.7 points, good for 107th in the country, and they’re powered by the guard duo of freshman Kenny Boynton and sophomore Irving Walker. But the guards are young and can be inconsistent, and Walker in particular struggles down the stretch for the Gators. Also, all five Florida starters average in double figures, but after that, there’s not much production off the bench.

The Cougars’ 83.5 points had them at second in the nation, behind only Kansas, and junior gunner Jimmer Fredette has never met a shot he didn’t like, but at least he hits a lot of them. Junior Jackson Emery and freshman Tyler Haws are next in the BYU attack, but this is Fredette’s show, and he scored 75 points in his last two games, including 45 in a 95-85 win over TCU in the MWC quarterfinals. The Cougars also lead the nation in free-throw percentage.

Betting Edge: BYU

Defensive Matchupss

Florida isn’t going to run up and down the court with you, so their defense will be the main factor in their sportsbook odds. The Gators are particularly good at guarding on the perimeter, and don’t worry about their performance against Mississippi State, who nailed 10 three-pointers on Florida; the Bulldogs are one of the best long-range shooting teams in the country. The Gators don’t have a big shotblocker in the post, but they’ll harass you with their full-court press. The quickness of Boynton and Walker are definitely key to Florida’s defensive strategies

It’s tough to gauge how effective the BYU defense is because of where they play, but they rebound well as a team, led by 5.1 boards from Noah Hartsock. The Cougars sometimes struggle with a team that shoots the three-pointer well, coming in 105th in three-point defense.

Betting Edge: Florida


Florida enters this game with a clean bill of health, while BYU is worried about Haws, who has a broken left orbital bone and missed the loss against UNLV. He should be able to play on Thursday, but how effective will he be?

Betting Edge: Florida

Betting Prediction: Florida vs BYU Picks

This is the first meeting between these two with BYU as a 4.5-point favorite, and both teams should be well represented as Oklahoma City is roughly halfway between the two. The Gators will try and slow this game down, while the Cougars will want to make it a track meet. We’ll take balance over explosiveness every time, and the Gators will stack up against Fredette. They did a great job in an eight-point loss at Kentucky, who has John Wall and Eric Bledsoe in their backcourt, so they’ve seen some great guards already this season. One final advantage the Gators have is on the bench, where Billy Donovan has a pair of championships to three straight first-round losses for Dave Rose (four if you count their first-round exit in the NIT in 2006). The Gators haven’t been to the big dance in three years, and they’ll be up for this one. Take the upset.

WASHINGTON’S Pick: Florida

For more sports betting and articles, check out the Betting Edge at BetOnline.



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