Florida vs Virginia: Prediction

March 14th, 2012

(7) Florida vs. (10) Virginia: West Region

 

Records

Florida 23-10, 10-6 SEC (At large)

Virginia 22-9, 9-7 ACC (At large)

 

Time: 2:10 p.m. Friday

 

TV: TNT

 

Location: Century Link Center in Omaha, Neb.

 

Winner will face: (2) Missouri or (15) Norfolk State, Sunday

 

Rankings

Florida No. 25 AP; No. 21 ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll

Virginia No. 34 AP; No. 33 ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll

 

RPI Ratings

Florida 23

Virginia 54

 

Line: Florida -3½ (O/U 121)

 

Players to Watch

 

Florida: G Erving Walker, 5-8 Sr. (12.1 ppg, 4.7 apg, 37.1% 3s); G Kenny Boynton, 6-2 Jr. (16.3 ppg, 2.5 apg, 42.7% 3s); C Patric Young, 6-9 So. (10.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 60.8% FG). Walker, Boynton and Young all had quiet games in the Gators’ SEC semifinal loss to Kentucky. They combined to go 9-for-28 for 20 point and seven rebounds in the 74-71 loss.

 

Virginia: F Mike Scott, 6-8 Sr. (18.1 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 56.2% FG); G Joe Harris, 6-6 So. (11.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 39.5% 3s); G Jontel Evans, 5-11 Jr. (7.3 ppg, 3.8 apg, 1.6 spg). Scott, who is averaging nearly 29 points and 11 rebounds over his last three games, came up two votes shy of being named ACC Player of the Year. North Carolina’s Tyler Zeller got 186 to Scott’s 184.

 

Why Each Team Dangerous

 

Florida: Florida has an explosive offense with several scoring options. Five different Gators average double-figure scoring. Boynton, Walker and Bradley Beal are all affective from the perimeter. Walker and Beal are good slashers and Young and Erik Murphy provide punch in the paint. Florida is shooting 46.1 percent from the field and 39 percent from 3 (21st nationally). The Gators don’t turn the ball over much. They have a 15-to-10.9 assist-to-turnover ratio and a 13-to-10.9 turnover margin.

 

Virginia: The Cavaliers play some of the best defense in the country. They surrender just 53.7 points per game, which is second in the country (to Wisconsin). They held opponents to 39.6 percent shooting (27th in the country) and 29.5 from the 3-point line. Scott is an excellent go-to scorer on the offensive end and he’s a beast on the boards.

 

Why Each Team is Vulnerable

 

Florida: Florida is guard-oriented. Young and Murphy are the only Gators with any significant size since Will Yeguete was lost for the season. They had exactly the same amount of rebounds as their opponents in SEC play. Young is a decent defender, but Florida has allowed a lot of points in the paint this season. The lack of an inside game also allowed them to score just 17.7 percent of their points at the foul line.

 

Virginia: The Cavs’ offense isn’t awful, but it is prone to long scoring lapses. Virginia scores just 63.1 points per game and is below average from the 3-point line at 33.7 percent.

 

The Bottom Line: It’s an interesting matchup in terms of style, but it’s clear that the Cavs aren’t the same team after their injuries throughout the season.

 

The Pick: Florida 71, Virginia 62

 

 

Greg Against the Spread This Season: 198-150-6 (Through Tuesday, March 14)