NCAA Basketball Spread: Off
Arkansas is 0-8 on the road this year, but luckily for them this game is at home. The Razorbacks are 17-1 at home. This will be no easy task though, as the 12th ranked Florida Gators come to town for a SEC showdown. Mike Anderson’s team has the athleticism to stick with just about anyone, but they haven’t been efficient enough on offense. Can the Razorbacks hang around with Florida this Saturday?
Florida has actually lost two of its last three games. The Gators have been in a bit of a shooting slump of late. The strength of this Florida team is its backcourt. Kenny Boynton, Erving Walker, and Bradley Beal are all very talented players. Boynton is the team’s leading scorer, and he is a 43% three-point shooter. Boynton averages 17.2 points per game. Beal is a 6’3 freshman who is a freak of athlete. Beal averages 14.3 points and an amazing 6.2 rebounds from the backcourt. Walker leads the team in assists with 128. The frontcourt is talented, but not as deep. Patric Young is the team’s low post scorer, while Erik Murphy is 6’10 guy who shoots 45% from beyond the arc. Florida averages 78.1 points per game.
The Gators have a history of finishing the regular season on a slide, but this group is well-aware of that recent history and they are doing their best to avoid that slide. Billy Donovan’s biggest concern is the fact that SEC opponents are hitting too many three-pointers against the Gators. Opponents are shooting 35% from beyond the arc.
Mike Anderson was a very popular hire when the Razorbacks picked him up over the offseason. Anderson’s fast-paced pressure style of play is popular with the team and its fans. The team was hit hard when Marshawn Powell went down with a season-ending injury early in the year. The Razorbacks now rely on a very small lineup to get the job done. Arkansas’ top five scorers are all guards. B.J. Young leads the team in scoring at 14.5 points per game. Mardracus Wade averages 10.5 points per game, and he shoots 49% from long distance. Julysses Nobles is the team’s top assist man.
The pressure defense has been working for the most part this year. Wade has 42 steals and Nobles has 40 so far this season. Opponents who are strong on the inside often take advantage of Arkansas inside the paint, but the Razorbacks have plenty of athleticism on the perimeter. Defensive rebounding has been a major problem for the Razorbacks this year, and that is something they must fix if they are going to be competitive against the top teams in the league.
Arkansas is a whole different animal at home, but the team hasn’t played anyone as good as Florida on their home floor. I think Florida wears down the Razorbacks on the inside and dominates the glass to win this one.
Prediction: Florida 77 Arkansas 71
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