Florida at Vanderbilt Spread, Free Pick & TV Info

Posted by Kenny Bell on Thursday,March 2, 2017 10:24, EDT in

In reality, there’s not much for No. 12 Florida to play for on Saturday at Vanderbilt in the SEC regular- season finale for both. The Gators are finishing second in the conference behind Kentucky regardless. Might they rest a key guy or two then here? Vandy absolutely needs a win to boost its NCAA Tournament bubble resume. It could even be a slight favorite in NCAAB lines depending on what UF does in terms of players.

Florida at Vanderbilt Spread, Free Pick & TV Info

When: Saturday, March 4, 2 PM ET
Where: Memorial Gymnasium, Nashville
TV: ESPN
Stream: WatchESPN
RadioFlorida / Vanderbilt
Opening NCAAB Lines: TBA

Why Bet On Florida?

OK, UF has a small reason to care: stockpiling wins and either solidifying or improving their standing for the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee. UF remains one of the best scoring offenses (79.1 ppg) and defenses (66.2 ppg) in the league.

This will be the final regular-season game of UF senior Kasey Hill and he’ll go down as one of the better players in school history. His career scorecard will place him as one of just six players in SEC history to score at least 1,000 points, dish 500 assists and post 175 steals.

During Hill’s freshman season, Florida rattled off 30 straight wins and went perfect in Southeastern Conference play to reach the program’s first Final Four since the 2006-07 season. Hill was primarily the team’s backup point guard behind then-senior Scottie Wilbekin. The next two years were a rollercoaster. Florida suffered its first losing season since the 1997-98 year.

Longtime head coach Billy Donovan left after that season to become the head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Mike White, an up-and- coming head coach out of Louisiana Tech, followed. Florida went 21-15 and missed out on the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season.

The Gators will continue to look for more creative ways to replace injured center John Egbunu (out for season) and get Kevarrius Hayes some help inside, because now that he must carry most of the load, he no longer has the luxury of staying fresh throughout the game.

UF lost at home to Vandy 68-66 on Jan. 21. The Commodores used a 12-0 run midway through the second half to take a seven-point lead and held on down the stretch in a game that featured six lead changes in the final 5 minutes.

Why Bet On Vanderbilt?

The Commodores are on the wrong side of the NCAA Tournament bubble but might have assured themselves of an at-large bid had they not blown an early 19-point lead and lost at No. 9 Kentucky on Tuesday, 73-67. It was the biggest Wildcats comeback ever under John Calipari.

Kentucky was down 19 points in the first half (25-6) and 13 in the second half (47-34) and yet found a way to rally and beat a Vanderbilt club that arrived at Rupp Arena on a four-game win streak. How did the Cats do it? For one thing, they turned up the heat on defense. Calipari went to half-court traps that forced the deliberate Commodores to quicken their pace. The result was 18 Vanderbilt turnovers compared to just 10 assists.

Vanderbilt’s defense held Kentucky to just 9-29 (31%) shooting from the field in the first half, but UK was 15-of- 26 from the floor over the final 20 minutes for 57.7 percent.

Luke Kornet had 21 points and Joe Toye added 15 for Vanderbilt (16-14, 9-8), which made 11 3-pointers. The SEC's best 3-point shooting team showed its strength often, making 6 of 16 in the first half including four straight during one stretch for a 25-9 lead. The Commodores finished 11 of 28 but went cold for several stretches in the second half. A 3-pointer from Riley LaChance gave Vanderbilt a 60-59 lead, its last of the game, with 4:12 left in the game.

LaChance is shooting 49.1% from three for the season and leads the SEC in 3FG% in all games. He is fourth in assist-to- turnover ratio (2.2), seventh in the league in assists (4.1), and ninth in three’s made (2.0) in all games.

The Commodores have the fourth toughest overall schedule and toughest non-conference schedule inthe nation according to the NCAA RPI, and the number one non-conference strength of schedule.

Florida at Vanderbilt Free Pick: Vanderbilt Commodores

Take Vandy in its home finale.