Kansas State Wildcats vs Florida Gators
Saturday, 12/18/10, 3:30 PM EDT
Opening Point Spread: Kansas State -1.5
Current Betting Line: Kansas State -1
Kansas State returns from its week-long exam break to begin a stretch of three games in a six-day period and will be taking on SEC foe Florida in the second game of a doubleheader at the MetroPCS Orange Bowl Classic in Sunrise, Florida. The Wildcats are 9-1 on the year and own a top 10 ranking, but head coach Frank Martin knows his team is capable of more. “We haven’t played as great as we need to,” said Martin. “But the bottom line is we continue to step up to challenges and I’m proud of our guys.” This game will also serve as a homecoming game for Martin, as he spent over 15 years coaching in the high school ranks in the area. The program is 19-20 all-time against Southeastern Conference foes, including a split against Alabama and Ole Miss last year. Kansas State is 3-3 ATS on the year and currently a slight neutral court favorite on the college basketball lines page.
The Wildcats have won 14 consecutive games in the month of December, including a 7-0 mark a year ago. It serves as the team’s longest winning streak in the month since 1948. Overall, the club is 33-7 in the month since 2004-05, including an impressive 18-3 mark under Martin. Kansas State fans are hoping that star guard Jacob Pullen can regain his shooting touch heading into the meat of the season, as he has shot below 30 percent four times this season. He is the undeniable leader on the team, but is in jeopardy of losing minutes on the floor on a deep and talented roster.
Florida enters with a 7-2 overall record and Saturday’s contest will mark the first-ever meeting between the two schools. The Gators will be making their 10th appearance in 11 years in the Classic, posting a 7-2 record in those contest. The team also possesses a winning 12-9 all-time mark against current members of the Big 12 Conference. Many experts believe the squad is a top 25 squad, but fell out of the rankings after a 57-54 loss to Central Florida on December 1. “It’s a big chance,” said senior Chandler Parsons about playing Kansas State. “Why wouldn’t we want to play them and prove to everyone we can play with anybody?” Florida is 1-6 ATS on the season and 0-1 ATS on a neutral floor.
The Gators have enjoyed great success in causing turnovers in their wins this season, forcing 15.9 per game in their seven victories compared to just 8.5 in defeat. Florida’s offense also needs to pick it up due to being held under 70 points in five of nine games this season and managing to go over the 80-point mark just once this season. “I think we’re capable of doing a little bit more offensively,” said coach Billy Donovan. Center Vernon Macklin has been doing his part by averaging 17.0 points on 75 percent shooting over the past three games.
Bettors will be interested in knowing that the Wildcats are 20-9-2 ATS in their last 31 games versus winning teams, while the Gators are 1-8 ATS overall.
The college basketball handicappers at Maddux Sports are ready to deliver a monster weekend. Don’t you dare miss out!