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Sunshine State Matchup Does Not Have The Feel Of A Blowout

Posted by Washington Tucker on 3/26/2013 6:41:40 PM

The Florida Gators are rightly being installed as a heavy favorite over and against the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles on Friday, but they might not run away with this contest.

Florida Gulf Coast Eagles vs. Florida Gators – Friday, March 29

Betting line: Florida -13

Why Florida Gulf Coast Will Win

When NCAA football betting gurus turn from football and move to basketball as their college sports point of focus, they might be captivated by the way Florida Gulf Coast attacks the sport. FGCU is fearless in its approach to basketball. The Eagles never stop coming at opponents, and they try to get to the rim first, a huge reason why this team has become the first No. 15 seed to make the Sweet 16 since the NCAA tournament was first seeded back in 1979, and since the tournament expanded to 64 teams (thereby accommodating No. 15 seeds) in 1985.

Florida Gulf Coast is not a team that has simply gotten really hot from three-point range and used its success as a long-distance bomb squad to get to this point in the tournament. This is anything but the case. Yes, FGCU has made some timely threes, but the Eagles go to the rack first. They try to get into the paint and have the point guard, Brett Comer, who can break down defenses on the dribble and set up opportunities for teammates when the opposing defense collapses and tries to stop the ball from getting to the rim.

Comer and his teammates, such as wing scorer Sherwood Brown, are legitimately talented. Yes, every team in the NCAA tournament has a certain amount of talent, but the point to underscore with respect to Florida Gulf Coast is that it has high-end Division I talent, the kind of ability that is not consistent with a No. 15 seed. FGCU is playing like a No. 6 or No. 7 seed, not a 15 seed, and that is why Florida could very realistically lose this game.

Florida Gulf Coast is not playing like Cinderella; it floored Georgetown with a 21-2 run on Friday, and beat San Diego State with a 16-0 run on Sunday. Both runs, one should stress, came in the second half, not in the first half. This team has resilience and staying power, and it could make life miserable for a Florida team that has all the pressure in the world on its shoulders.

Why Florida Will Win

Legal online sports betting analysts are fairly convinced that Florida is going to find the answers needed to fend off Florida Gulf Coast. First of all, Florida head coach Billy Donovan is one of the elite coaches in college basketball. He has won two national titles at Florida and has brought the Gators to their third consecutive Sweet 16 this season, something that had never been done before in Gainesville. Donovan, with ample time to prepare for this game, should be able to identify holes in Florida Gulf Coast's approach.

The other thing to realize about this game is that Florida Gulf Coast loves to attack the ball on defense. The Eagles got a lot of steals against Georgetown and San Diego State to fuel their lethal transition offense. However, Florida has multiple skilled ball handlers, Scottie Wilbekin and Mike Rosario, who can break pressure and dribble through traffic. This is a veteran team that should be able to handle trapping, pressing defenses. Florida's worst kind of matchup is a team that is immensely physical and brawny near the rim. Florida Gulf Coast is not that kind of team. FGCU will have to make a lot of threes to win this game, but Florida makes such excellent defensive rotations on the perimeter, meaning that the Eagles are not likely to do what they need to do in order to upset the Gators.

Who Will Win

This is a game that should be a conversation with five minutes remaining, but can Florida Gulf Coast do anything more than that? It's not likely. Florida will have a nine-point lead with five minutes left and will then make a few shots to put the game away and cover the spread.

College Basketball Betting Pick: Florida

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