We have an action-packed day of college basketball in store today with several of the top teams in the nation set to play. The headlining game of the day comes to us from Ann Arbor, where the Michigan Wolverines host the Wisconsin Badgers in a battle between top-10 teams. The Virginia Tech Hokies and the Duke Blue Devils square off in Blacksburg, with both teams ranked in the top-25.
🆚: No. 9 Wisconsin
📍: Ann Arbor, Mich.
🏟: Crisler Center
🕖: 7 p.m.
🏠: https://t.co/qVxyG9Kq38#GoBlue 〽️🏀 pic.twitter.com/s7w5pOOd0g
— Michigan Men's Basketball (@umichbball) January 12, 2021
Other ranked teams in action on Tuesday include Tennessee at Vanderbilt and Kansas playing at Oklahoma State. Unfortunately, the matchup between Baylor and West Virginia, in the Big 12, has been postponed due to a Corona Virus outbreak. In other action, St. John’s hosts Butler, Oklahoma and TCU play in Norman, Alabama and Kentucky play with first place in the SEC on the line, and North Carolina plays Syracuse.
For today’s free daily betting pick, we will head to The Swamp, where the Florida Gators host the Ole Miss Rebels in an SEC conference game with lots of NCAA tournament implications.
- Mississippi Rebels (6-4) at Florida Gators (5-3)
- O’Connell Center, Gainesville
- 4:00 PM PST
- TV: SECN
The Ole Miss Rebels head to Gainesville Tuesday night for an SEC showdown with the Florida Gators. The Rebels have fallen on hard times as of late, as they have lost four out of their last six games, and they are just 1-2 in league play. The Rebels are looking for just their 2nd top-100 win tonight on the road.
It's gameday in Gainesville 🐊🏀
— Florida Gators Men’s Basketball (@GatorsMBK) January 12, 2021
For Florida, the Gators have lost back-to-back games in league play, and after winning five out of their first six games, Florida needs a win to get back on track tonight at home. All three losses on the year for Florida have come to top-50 teams, and the Gators would love to add a signature win to their resume tonight against Mississippi.
Florida Gators (5-3)
Opinions are all over the place on just how good this Florida Gators team is this year. The Gators have received votes in the AP Poll every week since the first preseason poll was released, but they have yet to crack the top-25 nationally. However, if you look at Kenpom, Pomeroy had the Gators ranked 23rd before their shocking home floor loss to Kentucky in their last game. Now, Florida comes into this game ranked at 40th on Kenpom, the lowest they have been ranked all season long.
The big loss for Florida came when superstar Keyontae Johnson collapsed on the floor in the game against Florida State over a month ago. The Gators lost that game, and they are just 2-3 without Johnson on the floor. Sophomore guard Tre Mann has done a serviceable job of picking up the slack without Johnson on the floor, and he leads the Gators in scoring, rebounding, and assists. Mann really struggled in the Gator’s loss to Kentucky, scoring a season-low 7-points on 2-9 shooting from the field.
Mississippi Rebels (6-4)
The Ole Miss Rebels are closer to the NCAA tournament than their mediocre record may lead you to believe. Romello White was a huge pickup as a transfer from Arizona State, and the big man has excelled for Ole Miss. White is second on the team in scoring and rebounding and leads the team with 1.3 blocks per game. Against Alabama, White had the best game of his short Rebels career with a double-double, scoring 20 points and dragging down 11 boards. Ole Miss is going to need another big performance out of White tonight on the road if they are going to pull off the upset and pick up their biggest win of the season so far.
With the exception of the home floor win over Auburn, quality wins have been nonexistent for Ole Miss, as their next best win besides that one came over 189th ranked UNC Wilmington. The rest of the wins for the Rebels came against teams ranked outside the top-200. The Rebels have enough talent to compete in the SEC, but they need to find a way to win games against good teams if they want a realistic chance of hearing their names called on Selection Sunday.
Who Do I Like?
Ole Miss has played a total of two games against teams that I see making the NCAA tournament this year. No disrespect to Auburn, Wichita State, and Dayton, but those teams aren’t going to be dancing in March. In the Rebels two games against legit tournament-caliber teams, games coming against LSU and Alabama, Ole Miss lost by an average margin of 16 points per game, getting blown out in both contests.
Now, the Gators need to find a way to play quality basketball without Keyonte Johnson on the floor, but there is still enough talent to get the Gators into the NCAA tournament by the end of the year, and it’s hard not to expect the Rebels to struggle tonight on the road where they are 0-2 in true road games against the top-100.
This line opened up at Florida -4 points. That number was a sharp one as Kenpom has the Gators winning 71-67. But the public hasn’t seen it that way, as they have backed the Rebels, moving the number a point and a half towards Ole Miss. Now that I can lay less than a full possession’s worth of points, I feel that backing the Gators is absolutely the play in this one. Yeah, the blowout loss to Kentucky in their last game scares me a little bit, but the Wildcats are certainly much better than their record says they are, and Kentucky is a far more talented team than Ole Miss.
I won’t let the fact that Florida hasn’t been able to beat the best teams in the SEC distract me from the fact that Mississippi isn’t an elite team. I think the Rebels might be better than most people think, but I also feel that they just aren’t going to be able to go into Gainesville and knock the Gators off on the road. Winning on the road in conference play is always a daunting proposition, and Ole Miss has yet to show any ability to beat quality teams on their own floor.
I see this game as being decided beyond the arc, as the Rebels are one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the SEC, and the Gators can fill it up from deep. I don’t see Florida running up the score tonight, as this game is sure to be a competitive one, but at the end of the day, I see the Gators coming into this one fired up and playing with a lot of emotion after getting blown out by their rivals in their last game.
Expect a back-and-forth affair for much of the night, where the Gators pull away in the final several possessions to win the game and cover the spread. Give me the Florida Gators at home tonight, laying -2.5-points, as they guy out a much-needed victory over Ole Miss! I’ll call it a 77-69 final score from Gainesville!