The first game to kick off the 2010 NCAA March Madness Tournament will feature the 10th seed Florida Gators (21-12) taking on the 7th seed Brigham Young Cougars (29-5). Tip off for this game is scheduled for 12:20 PM ET, from the Ford Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The Cougars were eliminated in the semifinal round of the Mountain West Conference Tournament by the UNLV Rebels, while the Gators were bounced in the quarterfinals of the SEC Conference Tournament by Mississippi State. The problem for the Gators in this one is that they enter the Tournament on a cold streak. Florida has lost 4 of its last 5 games, and has had trouble scoring lately, hitting the 70-point plateau in only 5 of their past 13 contests, all of which were against the SEC. Florida’s defense remains respectable, averaging 65.4 points against on the year, but this Brigham Young offense enters this game on a hot note. BYU has won 7 of their last 9 games, and averages 83 points per game. The Gator defense must be able to stop BYU’s go-to guy, Jr. Guard Jimmer Fredette, who averages over 21 points per game, while shooting 45% from the perimeter. One thing that Florida does have on BYU is tournament history. The Gators have taken home the National Championship in their last 2 tournament appearances, while BYU has not escaped the first round since the 1993 tournament. They are 0-7 since then, including 3 consecutive opening round losses in the last 3 NCAA Tournaments. Still, this is not the same Gators team that took home the ultimate prize in 07′, and may be in over their heads in this first round matchup.
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Florida Gators vs. Brigham Young Cougars Spread, Line, and Betting Odds:
Over 147 (-105)
Under 147 (-115)
Florida Gators vs. BYU Cougars First Round Betting Predictions:
Spread Prediction – Take BYU to cover the 5 point spread in the first game of the NCAA Tournament. The Florida Gators simply do not have the offense to keep up with the Cougars. In neutral site games, BYU averages around 15 more points per game on offense than the Gators, while holding a neutral site record of 4-1. The Cougars are also 4-1 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games, while the Gators are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games. BYU is also 7-2 in their last 9 games as a favorite. Also considering the Cougars will have the best player on the court in Fredette, take BYU to cover the spread to open up what should be a great 2010 NCAA Tournament. BET ON BYU -5
Over/Under Prediction – Although Florida’s offense is not considered potent, I will still take the OVER 147 in this matchup. BYU can score at will, especially in the NCAA Tournament. The OVER is 4-0 in BYU’s last 4 NCAA Tournament games, and 4-1 in their last 5 games as a favorite. Same goes for Florida, as the OVER is 6-1 in the Gators last 7 NCAA Tournament. The OVER is a strong trend for both of these ball teams, especially in the NCAA Tournament, so bet on the OVER 147 total points in this opening-round game.
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