Florida vs Florida State Pick – NCAA Basketball Dec 5

Florida Gators -4.5 at Florida State Seminoles

This game isn’t as big of a deal as it should be locally.  I spend half of the year down in Florida, and I can walk down the street today in Tampa, Orlando, Miami, Jacksonville and nearly guarantee you if I ask 100 people if they “are watching the game tonight” it’s a safe bet 95 of them will have no clue to what “game” I am referring.  It’s a shame, because both programs have been good the past decade and especially the past few years in Florida State’s case.  Both teams are top of the division teams in major basketball conferences.

But very few people notice down in the football-crazed sunshine state.

College basketball fans will be watching tonight, as this marks only the second real test for the Gators this season, a road game against a probably tourney team from the ACC, albeit one that has struggled this season.

Florida State entered the year ranked and possessing thoughts about jumping up and challenging the Research Triangle’s ACC dominance in 2012.  They opened the season with a home loss to South Alabama.  Ugly.  They reeled off a few wins against some lesser competition then got clipped by Minnesota in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.  No big deal.  Tubby’s team is really good.

Then three nights ago they lost at home to MERCER.  Terrible and no excuse for a team this talented and with Michael Snaer leading the offensive attack to have two home losses this poor.  In fact, this game tonight against Florida is amplified in importance for the Seminoles, as they have played themselves into a position where they could really use a quality win to balance out the two bad losses (at HOME) come Selection Sunday.

I don’t think they are going to get one tonight.  If they thought USA and Mercer brought some pressure to Tallahassee, what until they get a load of the explosive Gators.  Florida has already hammered Wisconsin in Madison and dismantled Marquette.  I don’t see Florida State being markedly better than either of those two teams and neither came within 20 points of the Gators.

Florida has won the last three games in this rivalry, including a 22-point win last year (in Gainesville), and an 18-point win in 2009.  Granted, 2009 is a completely different roster than this season, but the Gators and their coach certainly won’t bat an eye heading into a less-hostile-than-it-should-be Seminole home crowd.

If The Jaguars and whatever the hell Mercer’s mascot is can topple FSU in their own gym, I don’t see them staying too close to Billy Donovan’s high octane squad.  Give me the Gators laying the points on the road.

Free Pick:  Florida Gators -4.5

Chris Scheeren / Author