Two of the top dogs in the West Bracket are going to meet up in the Sweet 16 in Phoenix on Thursday night, as the Florida Gators clash with the Marquette Golden Eagles.
The Gators are one of the sharp shooting teams in this tournament, and as we have said every single step of the way, they are most certainly one of the dangerous sides that can beat anyone in the dance. That being said, when they aren’t on their game, they are beatable by anyone as well. Of course, the Norfolk State Spartans never stood a shot against the boys from Gainesville, especially since the orange and blue shot a solid 10-of-28 from three-point land. All of these three point shots that the team takes could be its demise though, as it is clear that Marquette is going to do a heck of a lot better than shoot the 31 percent from the field that Norfolk State and the Virginia Cavaliers have shot against this team in the tourney. Florida is going to use a four guard lineup at almost all times, knowing that there are five guards and just two big men in the main rotation. Kenny Boynton and Bradley Beal are both the types of players that can have triple-doubles, and they showed it over the weekend when they combined for 34 points and 17 boards against the Spartans.
The Golden Eagles have had two great games here in the dance, disposing of the BYU Cougars and the Murray State Racers without all that much hassle. This was supposed to be one of the teams in the Big East that struggled in this tournament, especially knowing that the end of the regular season and the Big East Tournament didn’t go all that well. In fact, Marquette is trying to become the first team in college basketball history to win the National Championship after getting knocked out in the first game of its conference tournament. The Golden Eagles are only going to go as far as Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom are going to take them. Crowder averaged 17.6 points and 8.4 boards per game, and he also averaged well over two steals per game as well. He has had five straight double-doubles, and he has put up 42 points and 29 boards in the tournament. Odom is more of a sharpshooter, scoring 18.5 points per game, and he has been right there with a total of 37 points in two games.
The Final Word: The Golden Eagles are great, but we still think that the they are going to be in trouble in this one. As we have said, Florida can beat any team in the land, and though it has already been beaten by two teams in the Big East this year, both of those losses came on the road. Here at a neutral court in Phoenix, we think that it will be the lucky day for the Gators.
Florida Gators vs. Marquette Golden Eagles Pick: Florida Gators +1.5
Andrew Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.