NCAA Tournament Southeast Region Second Round
#2 Florida Gators vs #15 UC-Santa Barbara Gauchos
St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa, FL
Thursday, March 17, 2011, 6:50 pm Eastern, TV: TBS
Opening Line: Florida -14 1/2
Current Line: Florida -13
Opening Total: 127
Current Total: 127 1/2
Money Line: Florida -1200 / UCSB +800
After the Gators lost the SEC Championship game to Kentucky last week, many people my self included were surprised the Gators were seeded #2 in the Southeast region over BYU, Texas, and UConn. Florida won the SEC regular season title by finishing 26-7 overall and 13-3 in league play. Florida went 10-2 down the stretch with both losses coming to Kentucky including a 70-54 defeat in the SEC title game last Sunday. The Gators take on the #15 seed UC-Santa Barbara Gauchos who won the Big West tournament. The Gauchos were 18-13 and finished 4th in the Big West at 8-8. They have won 4 straight games including a 64-56 victory over Long Beach St in the Big West Championship game Saturday. The winner of this game will play the winner of UCLA and Michigan St in the third round.
Florida and UCSB have never met in basketball. The Gauchos went 1-1 against tournament teams upsetting UNLV 68-62 in December in Las Vegas and losing at San Diego St 90-64 the next game out. Florida is 13-3 against tournament teams with all three losses coming to Ohio St and Kentucky twice.
Santa Barbara has no significant injuries right now. The Gauchos are led by guard/forward Orlando Johnson who is averaging 21.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1.2 steals a game. He leads the team in points and rebounds. Forward James Nunnally averages 16.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.8 assists a game. Forward Jaime Serna averages 8 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1 block a game. Center Greg Somogyi averages 3 rebounds and leads the team in blocks with 1.9 a game. Point Guard Justin Joyner averages 3.9 assists and 1.7 steals a game to lead the team in both categories. UCSB is outscoring opponents 68-66 on the season. The Gauchos are shooting 44.3% from the field and 37.7% from 3-point range. UCSB opponents are shooting 41.7% from the field. The Gauchos shoot 68.1% from the free throw line. Santa Barbara averages 32.8 rebounds a game and has a rebounding margin of -2.2. The Gauchos average 13.8 assists and 15.3 turnovers a game. The Gauchos force 15.3 turnovers a game on defense. UCSB averages 6.7 steals and 3.1 blocks a game.
Florida has no significant injuries right now. The Gators are led by guard Erving Walker. He is averaging 14.4 points to lead the team, 3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.1 steals a game to lead the team. He is shooting 37.8% from 3-point range. Guard Kenny Boynton is averaging 14.1 points, 1.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists a game. Chandler Parsons averages 11.5 points, 7.8 rebounds to lead the team, 3.5 assists to lead the team, and 0.9 steals a game. Center Vernon Macklin is averaging 11.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, and leads the team in blocks with 0.7 a game. He struggles from the free throw line converting only 44.9% from the stripe. Florida is outscoring opponents 72-63 on the season. The Gators are shooting 46.2% from the field and 35.6% from 3-point range. Gator opponents are shooting 42.5% from the field. The Gators shoot 66.7% from the free throw line. Florida averages 37.5 rebounds a game and has a rebounding margin of +6.1. They average 13.7 assists and 12.4 turnovers a game. The Gators force 12.5 turnovers a game on defense. Florida averages 5.9 steals and 3.5 blocks a game.
Santa Barbara really shouldn’t be seeded as high as a #15. They finished 4th in a weak conference. They should be a 16 seed or in one of the First Four games. Despite that Florida is seeded too high as well, Florida should roll in this game especially playing nearby Tampa, while UCSB has to travel across country to play in this game. The Gators simply have too much for the Gauchos.
Our college basketball handicappers are red hot as the tournament is in full swing. Don’t miss out on any more winners from now until they cut down the nets in Houston.