Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (4-0) @ #16 Florida Gators (3-1), 7:30pm, ESPN3
(Florida -12.5; O/U 136.5)
Last Year: The Blue Raiders were the talk of college basketball last season following a 19-1 regular season in the Sun Belt Conference but fell short in the conference tournament and fell short once again in their First Four loss to Saint Mary’s. The Gators made it to the Elite Eight before bowing out to eventual national runner-up Michigan.
This Year: Kermit Davis‘ Blue Raiders are once again off to a hot start which includes a win over fellow darling from a season ago, Akron. They’ve played every game on their home court at The Murph, a venue that’s provided quite a home-court advantage thanks to a raucous student section, aptly named the “Blue Zoo.” Billy Donovan‘s club, meanwhile, will be playing shorthanded thanks to an ankle injury suffered by freshman Kasey Hill, their top assist man. The Gators were handed their only loss in their only road game, at #20 Wisconsin, nine days ago.
By the Numbers: Florida was averaging 70.8 ppg with Hill on the floor while Middle Tennessee averages 77.8 and has seven players averaging at least seven points per game. Florida will have to turn it up on defense to avoid the upset at home tonight.
P.S.: The Blue Raiders are 0-12 against Top 25 teams over the past ten years.
Prediction: Florida 67, Middle Tennessee 61