Tennessee Volunteers at Florida Gators, Stephen C. O’Connell Center, Gainesville, FL
Saturday, February 12, 2011, 6:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Florida -6
Current Line: Florida -5 1/2
Opening Total: 131
Current Total: 133
Money Line: Florida -240 / Tennessee +200
Tennessee Coach Bruce Pearl returned from an 8 game suspension just in time to face Kentucky and Florida on the road. Pearl joked that he wished it was a 10 game suspension when he saw those 2 games on the schedule. Tennessee lost at Kentucky Wednesday night 73-61 to fall to 15-9 overall and 5-4 in the wide-open SEC. Next up for the Vols is a trip to Gainesville to take on the #17 (AP Poll) or #19 (ESPN) ranked Florida Gators. Florida is 19-5 overall and 8-2 in the SEC. Florida has won 3 straight including a 79-60 win at South Carolina Wednesday night. Tennessee has additional losses to Oakland, Charlotte, USC, Charleston, Arkansas, Florida, UConn, and Alabama. They have lost two straight games. Tennessee has wins over Missouri St, VCU, Villanova, Pitt, Memphis, Vanderbilt, Georgia, LSU, Mississippi, and Auburn. Florida has losses to Ohio St, Central Florida, Jacksonville, South Carolina and Mississippi St. The Gators have wins over Florida St, Kansas St, Xavier, Rhode Island, Mississippi, Tennessee, Auburn, Arkansas, Georgia, Vanderbilt, and Kentucky. Florida beat Tennessee in Knoxville January 11 81-75 in overtime. Teh Florida starters scored 77 points in that game.
Tennessee leads the overall series 69-50. The Volunteers have won 10 of the last 14, including 4 of the last 6 played in Gainesville. Florida has won 2 in a row in the series. Tennessee is 3-2 straight up in the last 5, but Florida is 3-2 ATS. Three of those five have gone under the total as well. Florida is 3-11 ATS as a favorite this season.
Tennessee is battling all sorts of injuries for this game. Guards Scotty Hopson (ankle), Jordan McRae (discipline), and forward Tobias Harris (ankle) are all probable for the game against Florida. Forward Renaldo Woolridge is questionable though with an ankle injury of his own. McCrae and Woolridge are role players and have only played in 8 and 9 games respectively. Hopson and Harris, however are the two leading scorers for Tennessee, so obviously you want to keep an eye on their situation as it gets closer to game time. Hopson averages 16.2 points to lead the team, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.5 assists a game. Harris averages 14.6 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists a game, and 1 block a game. Guard Cameron Tatum averages 10.2 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.2 assists a game. Melvin Goins leads the team in assists with 3 a game. Goins also leads the team in steals with 1.6 a game. Brian Williams leads the team in rebounds with 7.7 a game. John Fields leads the team in blocks with 1.5 a game. Tennessee is outscoring opponents 72-67 on the season. The Vols are shooting 43.4% from the field and 32.5% from 3-point range. Tennessee opponents are shooting 41.2% from the field. The Vols make 68.5% of their free throws. Tennessee pulls down 39.2 rebounds a game and have a rebounding margin of +5.6. They average 13.8 assists and 13.8 turnovers a game on defense. Tennessee forces 14.5 turnovers a game on defense. They average 7.1 steals and 4.4 blocks a game.
Florida has no significant injuries right now. The Gators are led by guard Erving Walker. He is averaging 14.7 points to lead the team, 3 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.1 steals a game to lead the team. He is shooting 38.9% from 3-point range. Guard Kenny Boynton is averaging 13 points, 1.7 rebounds, and 2.4 assists a game. Center Vernon Macklin is averaging 11.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, and leads the team in blocks with 0.9 a game. He struggles from the free throw line converting only 27 out of 64 on the year, or 42.2%. Forward Chandler Parsons averages 11.1 points, 7.9 rebounds to lead the team, 3.8 assists to lead the team, and 1 steal a game. Florida is outscoring opponents 71-62 on the season. The Gators are shooting 45.7% from the field and 34% from 3-point range. Gator opponents are shooting 41.4% from the field. The Gators shoot 65.8% from the free throw line. Florida averages 38.5 rebounds a game and has a rebounding margin of +6.6. They average 14.1 assists and 12.7 turnovers a game. The Gators force 13.2 turnovers a game on defense. Florida averages 6.2 steals and 4 blocks a game.
Florida has only swept the season series against Tennessee 6 times. The SEC is a parity driven league and any team can beat another team int he league on any given night. Florida -5 1/2 seems like a bargain, especially how banged up Tennessee is. Even if Hopson and Harris play we don’t know how effective they will be. Florida should win this game rather handily, though Tennessee isn’t intimidated playing in Gainesville.
Our college basketball handicappers are off to a great start in 2011. Don’t miss out on any more winners this season.