Florida Gators (21-12) at Texas Tech Red Raiders (25-9)
After a very profitable first day of NCAA betting, we came up short last night. We backed the Creighton Blue Jays against the Kansas State Wildcats. I expected the X-factor in this game to be Creighton All-Big East first team guard Marcus Foster.
Foster spent his first two years playing for K-State, before being kicked off the team for a rules violation. You could tell that Foster was very motivated to seek revenge against the team that threw him away. I loved that we had that type of emotion on our side and backed the Blue Jays as -2-point favorites.
Well, it turns out that emotion played against us last night. Foster had what is likely his worst game ever with Creighton. The Big East player of the year candidate scored just five points on just 2-11 shooting. He couldn’t get anything going all night on offense, and also contributed three costly turnovers.
It was a sad end to his college career for Foster. This guy averaged twenty points a game all year long in the nation’s toughest league, and when he wanted it the most, and when his team needed him the most, he played the worst game of his career. Ouch.
Not only did the Blue Jays fail to cover, they lost the game outright 69-59. Today I will look at a round of thirty-two matchup between the Florida Gators and the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
The Florida Gators will play against the Texas Tech Red Raiders Saturday night looking to advance to the Sweet 16. The Gators were able to easily handle the red-hot Bonnies of St. Bonaventure in round one and are looking to head back to yet another Sweet 16.
For Texas Tech they barely survived a battle with the seemingly outmatched Lumberjacks of Stephen F Austin in round one and will need to play much better tonight if they want to advance. The Red Raiders are -1.5-point favorites. The game total over-under is set at 134 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:40 PM PST from the AA Center in Dallas, Texas.
The Florida Gators are such a strange team. They can beat any team in the nation, we saw that when they beat very good teams like Gonzaga and Cincinnati. But they can also lose to just about anybody. The Gators have losses on their resume to Mississippi, South Carolina, Georgia, and Vanderbilt. You just never know what to expect with this team.
The Gators looked great in their opening round win over the Bonnies. The Bonnies were a sexy upset pick as they were playing great and Florida was so inconsistent. But the Gators cruised to an easy double-digit victory that really wasn’t close the entire game.
Chris Chiozza dished out eleven assists, and the Gators looked like the much better team. They will need another strong performance tonight if they want to knock off a good Texas Tech team.
I am not going to lie, I didn’t like the Red Raiders chances in the first round against Stephen F Austin. I backed the Lumberjacks getting the 11.5-points, and it felt like free money. The game was much, much closer than the final score shows as the Lumberjacks led by as many as eight points, late in the second half.
Texas Tech was able to get their act together late, but they got all they could handle from the Lumberjacks. The Florida team they play tonight is not at all afraid to take it to them and are a much more talented bunch.
The NCAA tournament is a hard place to win if you haven’t done it before. Rarely do we see teams that aren’t used to playing in March make deep runs. The Florida Gators are a program that is used to playing and winning, in this tournament.
The Texas Tech Red Raiders? They just won’t their first game in the tournament since 2007, and it was a squeaker over a team they were much better than.
This is a strength on strength matchup as both teams feature really good senior point guards. At this point, the only reason the Red Raiders are still playing is the play of Keenan Evans down the stretch against SFA. He is an elite scorer and will be matched up with Chiozza, an elite passer.
These two guys have very different styles. Evans loves to score, and Chiozza loves to facilitate, but they both are strong leaders for their teams. A senior point guard is something that is very coveted in March, and both of these teams have one.
The Texas Tech Red Raiders showed me in the first round that they aren’t quite ready for primetime. They looked nervous, and it took thirty-five minutes for them to start playing their brand of basketball. If they play like that tonight, they will get blown out.
Florida has the talent to match up with any team in the country and the March experience to make a deep run. I expect the Gators to play that physical brand of ball and control the tempo of this game.
I believe Florida wins this game outright tonight. The only slight reservation I have is that this game will be essentially a home game for the Red Raiders as it will be played in Dallas, but they played in this same building in round one and underwhelmed, and I expect the same thing tonight.
The Gators always travel well, and I expect the crowd to be a somewhat even split, that shouldn’t factor too heavily into the game. Give me the Florida Gators +1.5-points tonight and advancing to the Sweet 16!