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Florida Gators (23) vs Mississippi St. Bulldogs Free College Basketball Pick

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#23 Florida (16-4, 5-1 SEC) at Mississippi State (10-9, 2-3 SEC)
Date/Time: Saturday, January 29 2011, 1:00 PM EST
Venue: Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville, MS.
Broadcast: CBS
Money Line: OFF
Spread: Florida 5 ½
Over/Under: 135 ½

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The No. 23 Gators will look to preserve their perfect road record when the travel to Mississippi State to take on the Bulldogs in a Saturday matinee.

State missed its chance to pull off the upset against Vanderbilt its last time out, dropping its second in a row after wasting a late lead, eventually losing by seven. The ‘Dogs made just three field goals in the final 10 minutes of the contest, and  will likely have to win the SEC tournament or finish without a loss for a chance at a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

The Bulldogs, losers of seven of 10, will need to get better on the defensive end. They are giving up a league-worst 70.6 points per game, and their offensive stats aren’t very impressive either at 69.2 PPG on 42 percent shooting.

Ravern Johnson leads the team in scoring with 18.2 PPG.  The key, however, is Dee Bost, who returned five games ago.  He has averaged 17.2 PPG and team highs with 6.4 APG and 2.4 SPG.  Both cold face a tough task in defending Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton.

The Gators backcourt duo each posted season highs with 24 points, as Florida recorded its third straight SEC win to move to 5-1 overall following a 104-91 double-overtime victory at Georgia on Tuesday.

The Gators will now look to improve to 6-0 on opponents’ home courts against the Bulldogs, a team they have had decent success with, as Florida leads the all-time series versus Mississippi State, 57-48.

Offensively they average 71.8 PPG while shooting 46 percent from the field.  Walker is averaging 14.3 PPG and Boynton is averaging 13.4 PPG while Vernon Macklin, who added a career-high 23 with nine rebounds against UGA, is averaging 11.4 PPG and 6.4 RPG.

Miss has played without two of their best players in Bost and Renardo Sidney most of the season.  The Bulldogs had a good chance to beat Vanderbilt, but they let it slip away.  While they may not beat Florida straight up at home, I do believe they can keep this one to within six points.

Betting Trends:

Over is 6-2 in FLA last 8 overall.
Over is 6-2 in FLA last 8 vs. Southeastern.
Under is 16-6 in FLA last 22 Sat. games.
MISST are 2-9-1 ATS in their last 12 home games.
Over is 8-3 in MISST last 11 home games.
Over is 12-5 in MISST last 17 overall.

Matt’s Free Pick: Bulldogs +6

Matt Martz is a freelance writer located in Central California. Blessed is the gambler who expects nothing, for ye shall not be disappointed.

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