College Basketball South Region Picks: #3 Florida Gators vs #11 Minnesota Golden Gophers

2013 NCAA Tournament – South Region Third Round
#3 Florida Gators vs #11 Minnesota Golden Gophers
Sunday, March 24, 2013, 6:10 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Frank Erwin Special Events Center – Austin, Texas
Opening Line: Florida -8 1/2
Current Line:
Florida -8
Opening Total: 122
Current Total: 125
Opening Money Line: Florida -425 / Minnesota +355
Current Money Line: Florida -375 / Minnesota +315

Florida is an 11.5 point favorite against Minnesota Sunday in Austin.
Florida is an 8 point favorite against Minnesota Sunday in Austin.

The 27-7 Florida Gators won the SEC regular season title with a 14-4 record. However, the Gators were upset by Ole Miss 66-63 in the SEC Championship game. The Gators were given the #3 seed in the South Region. In the second round Florida handled #14 seed Northwestern St 79-47. The gators will now face #11 seed Minnesota in the third round. The winner will face either #7 San Diego St or #15 Florida Gulf Coast in the regional semifinals next week in Arlington, Texas.

The Golden Gophers are 21-12 this season and were 8-10 in the Big Ten. Minnesota tied for 7th with Illinois and Purdue. The Golden Gophers lost to Illinois in the first round of the Big Ten tournament 51-49. Minnesota beat #6 UCLA in the second round Friday 83-63. The Golden Gophers had lost 3 straight games before that. Minnesota won the only previous match-up against Florida at home in the 1993 NIT.

Florida is coached by Billy Donovan. Florida has losses at Arizona, Kansas St in Kansas City, at Arkansas, at Missouri, at Tennessee, and at Kentucky. The Gators have wins over Wisconsin, Middle Tennessee, Central Florida, Marquette, at Florida St, Air Force in Miami, at Yale, Georgia twice, LSU twice, at Texas A&M, Missouri, Mississippi St twice, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Kentucky, at Auburn, Arkansas, Alabama twice, and Vanderbilt. The Gators are 17-14 ATS and the total is 11-17.

Florida is outscoring teams 72-54 this season. The Gators are #3 in points allowed nationally. The Gators are shooting 48.1% from the field and 38.1% from 3 point range. The Gators are 27 or better nationally in both categories. Florida makes 68% of their free throws. The Gators average 35.1 rebounds per game and give up 26.7 per game. Florida is #18 in rebounds allowed. Gator opponents are shooting 37.7% from the field and 30.1% from 3 point range. The Gators are #7 in field goal defense and #26 in three point defense. Florida averages 15 assists, 7 steals, 3 blocks and 11 turnovers.

Forward-center Erik Murphy averages 12.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.4 assists. Guard Kenny Boynton averages 12.3 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.9 assists. Guard Mike Rosario averages 12.3 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game. Center Patric Young averages 10.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game. Guard Scottie Wilbekin averages 9 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. Casey Prather, Michael Frazier II, and Will Yeguete all score around 6 points a game. Frazier (back) and Yeguete (knee) are both probable.

Minnesota is coached by Tubby Smith. The Gophers started off the season 15-1 but have gone 5-11 since then.  The Gophers have losses to Duke in a tournament in the Bahamas, road losses at Indiana, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Michigan St, Iowa, Nebraska, and Purdue and home losses to Michigan and Illinois. Minnesota has key wins over Toledo, Richmond, Memphis & Stanford in the Bahamas, at Florida St, at USC, Michigan St, Northwestern, at Illinois, Nebraska, Iowa and Wisconsin, Indiana and Penn St. The Gophers are 16-14-1 ATS and the total is 11-15.

Minnesota is outscoring teams 68-62 this season. The Gophers are shooting 44.2% from the field and 32.6% from 3 point range. Minnesota makes 68.5% from the free throw line. Minnesota averages 38.8 rebounds per game and gives up 25.8 per game. The Gophers are #18 in rebounding, and #5 in rebounds allowed. Minnesota opponents are shooting 39.6% from the field and 33.9% from 3 point range. The Gophers average 15 assists, 8 steals, 6 blocks, and 14 assists.

Guard Andre Hollins averages 13.9 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Guard Austin Hollins averages 10.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.7 steals.  Forward Rodney Williams averages 10.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.4 blocks per game.Trevor Mbakwe averages 10 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.1 assists,  1.5 blocks per game. Guard Joe Coleman averages 8.7 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.2 steals per game.  Guard Wally Ellenson is questionable with the flu.

Minnesota is 14-6-1 after a cover, 11-5-1 in non-conference games, 3-8-1 overall, 2-6-1 against teams with winning records, and 1-4 after a straight up win.

Florida is 17-5 ATS in NCAA tournament games, 3-7 overall, 2-7 against teams with winning records, 1-4 after a cover, and a straight win of 20 points or more, and 1-5 after a straight up win.

I picked UCLA to beat Minnesota in the second round. I underestimated how the loss of talented guard Jordan Adams would affect the Bruins. Reportedly, Minnesota coach Tubby Smith could be coaching with his job on the line, because of Minnesota’s late season struggles the last 2 years. Florida has some puzzling losses on the road or in neutral site games. Still I think the Gators take care of business, and move on to the Sweet 16.

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