Alabama Florida CBB

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College Basketball



At a time, Florida was alone in first place in the SEC, but that’s far from the case these days. The Gators are suddenly two Games back of Auburn in the standings and are on the same level as Kentucky after Tuesday’s loss at Georgia. Even at home for this Game, it won’t be easy against an Alabama team that is extremely up and down, winning five of its last seven.

The next step for the Crimson Tide is to win consistently on the road. They’ve played just Four road Games in SEC play and won only one of them, taking down LSU a couple weeks ago. Last week, they struggled to do anything against a mediocre Ole Miss squad. Florida has some home losses this season, but has also dominated Baylor and Arkansas in recent Games.

This matchup will be dominated by guard play with Alabama’s defense the thing that stands out. The Tide rank first in the Conference in efficiency, which is helped by great block and steal numbers. The problem is that Florida is first in the Conference at not turning over the ball and shoot over 38 percent from beyond the arc.

On the other end, nothing stands out. The Tide don’t do anything well offensively, from turning the ball over a ton to shooting less than 31 percent from deep. The good news is that Florida has struggled defensively and is allowing 40 percent from range, although it’s a question if ‘Bama can capitalize on that.

The matchup to watch, if they end up guarding each other, will be freshman Collin Sexton against senior Chris Chiozza. Sexton has been inconsistent, but still leads the team in scoring with 18.7 points per Game and has the ability to get past any defender in front of him. That includes Chiozza, who is giving up a few inches and is more of a facilitator for Florida with 12.7 points and 6.1 assists per Game.

Neither team has a lot of size and that’s been one of Florida’s biggest problems this season, but Alabama doesn’t exactly have an edge in that aspect. The Tide are bigger at every position, but starting center Daniel Giddens is the only guy above 6-foot-9 and he averages less than 15 minutes per Game.

At the end of the day, these are two similar teams, both with Four players averaging double digits in the points department and questions elsewhere. The Gators have better shooters in Jalen Hudson, Egor Koulechov and Chiozza and if they are filling it up, it’ll be hard for Alabama to steal a win. The other x-factor is KeVaughn Allen, who has been all over the place this season, scoring 28 points in one Game and then just nine in the loss to Georgia.

The best thing for the underdog is that it can match up fairly well at every position with guys like Dazon Ingram, Braxton Key and Donta Hall having a few extra inches. The other thing to keep an eye on is freshman Herbert Jones, who has really picked it up for the Tide after a slow start to the season. He’s another guy that has size and great athleticism at the guard spot.

Florida has remained near the top of the SEC because it knows how to win Games. Alabama may have better talent, but it hasn’t put it together consistently all season. The Tide will have a chance for the upset, but the Gators don’t want to lose two straight in this conference.

Our Pick –  Florida -7.5

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