NCAA Basketball Betting Preview: (10) Florida vs. Middle Tennessee(10) Florida at Middle Tennessee
Tip off: – 4 PM EST, Sunday Nov 18, 2012
Spread: FLA -10
M/L: FLA -600, MIDTN +475
Betting Odds from Bookmaker
The Florida Gators finished 26-11 last year with a 10-6 record in the SEC. They lost to Louisville in the Elite Eight in March, after knocking out Virginia, Norfolk State and Marquette.
The Gators lost Bradley Beal to the NBA draft and Erving Walker departed, too, but they return a talented roster led by Kenny Boynton, a 6’2″ senior, who averaged 15.9 points per game last year. In addition to Boynton, they also return Patric Young and Erik Murphy, a tandem of forward/centers who both averaged 10-plus point s per game last year and combined to average nearly 11 rebounds per game.
Murphy is a 6’10″ stretch-4 who will be entering his second season as a stater. He’s a 41.7 percent three points shooter and is becoming an interior presence on defense as well, as he blocked 37 shots last year. Young shot 61.8 percent form the floor last year and is becoming a better offensive player. He’s also worked a lot on his conditioning, and his 249 pound frame is becoming more chiseled with each passing month.
Boynton improved his three point shooting every season as a Gator. He shot 29 percent his freshman year, 33 percent his sophomore, and then over 40 percent last year as a junior.
Boynton is quick and a good scorer and could make the leap to the NBA level, if he’s able to answer questions about his ability to play both guard spots. Boynton averaged under three assists per game last year, but as a 6’2″ guard he will have to prove he can effectively run a team to make it at the next level. With Erving Walker gone, he’ll have every opportunity to prove he can do it.
Florida can contend with Kentucky in the SEC, but they need everyone to remain healthy and need huge contributions from both Young and junior Scottie Wilbekin, in addition to Boynton being brilliant. Gators coach Billy Donovan will have to contend with lacking a lot of size, but should be able to make up for it if he utilizes the Gators’ strengths and pushes the pace to take advantage of his backcourt’s talent.
Middle Tennessee is in the Sun Belt conference and finished 27-7 last year with a 14-2 Sun Belt record. The Sun Belt has gone 28-69 in the NCAA tournament, so don’t expect the winner of the conference to make any real waves in March.
Middle Tennessee just lost Sun Belt Player of the Year LaRon Dendy, but they return 10 of their top 12 players from last season and PG Bruce Massey is a good lockdown defender who can run a team. Marcos Knight, J.T. Sulton, Raymond Cintron, Shawn Jones and Kerry Hammonds all fill the rotation out nicely for Middle Tennessee. They have a lot of talent going deep into their bench, and should be in for a nice season.