Elite 8 Tourney Pick – South Carolina vs Florida

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Pinnacle Odds: South Carolina +3.5 vs Florida -3.5 Total 136

By Greg Dempson

It is indeed a “three-for-all” when these SEC rivals meet for the third time this season in a “winner take all” rubber match at the Gardens with the game tipping at 2:20 ET on CBS. In their first meeting on January 18, South Carolina, laying 1.5 defeated the Gators (67-63) at home. In their rematch the Gators defeated the Gamecocks, (81-66) as 7.5 point chalk.

In Florida’s loss at South Carolina, guard KeVaughn Allen got into foul trouble early, (4,) and he was limited to 19 minutes while scoring one point. In Florida’s successful rematch Allen netted 26 points. The Gators also got 35 points from Allen in their overtime win vs. Wisconsin, and he netted 18 against Virginia and 16 vs. Eastern Tennessee State. Gators senior guard Canyon Barry, who is the son of Hall of Famer Rick Berry, averages (11.6 PPG), and Devin Robinson (11.3) also average double-digits for the Gators. Barry, just as his father previously did, shoots his free throws underhanded.

This is a step up in class for the Gamecocks and when re-watching their game vs. Virginia I noted Florida’s fast paced guard play of Kasey Hill and Chris Chiozza repeatedly broke down Virginia’s defense, resulting in open looks for Leon and Robinson. Florida was also able to post 84 points in their most recent victory against Wisconsin.

Those 84 points allowed equaled their season worst as the Badgers also let the Golden Eagles and Spartans score 84 against them. Florida has played two stingier defenses in this tournament, (the Cavaliers and Badgers,) when compared to the defensive capabilities of the Bears, who allowed 70. The Gamecocks win vs. Duke was indeed impressive but the Blue Devils were able to score 81 while Marquette put up 73.

I previously discussed in length how the impact, or lack thereof, of SEC player of the year Sindarius Thornwell, could affect the outcome of the Gamecocks game vs. the Bears. He scored 24 against Baylor, 24 vs. Duke and 29 in their contest vs. Marquette. The Gamecocks also have PJ Dozier (13.7 PPG,) as well as Duane Notice (10.3) and Chris Silva (10.1,) as double-digit scorers.

On The Up And Up

· The books have posted an interesting total on this game as I note Gamecocks coach Martin/Team average 68.9 PPG on offense in Neutral courts contests while holding opponents to an average of 64,5 PPG, (a combined for and against of 133.4 which is almost bang on with the O/U being 134.5 points.

· Florida averaged 77.5 PPG on offense while limiting conference foes to 67.6 PPG on defense.

· South Carolina averaged 72.1 PPG in Conference games vs. allowing 68.0 PPG on defense.

· The Gators +15.10-units to the OVER vs. good ball handling teams that commit 14 or less turnovers per game.

· From game 16 out the Gamecocks are 12-3 to the OVER vs. good shooting teams that make 45% or more of their shots.

An Uppity System

· When the total is between 130 and 139.5 points, play Neutral court games over the total in a contest involving two good defensive teams, (allowing an average of (63-67 PPG,) after one of the teams allowed 25 points or less in the first half last game, (applies to the Gamecocks.) This system is 25-05 = 83% to the over the past five seasons.

Every Edge in Review

· My opinion on Kansas/Oregon under the total won but it does not count vs. my record which is 12-13 in the NBA and College games.

Elite 8 Tourney Pick

My South Carolina/Florida selection is an investment on this contest to sail over the total of 134.5 points.