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Florida vs. Marquette West Region Gambling Free Picks & Preview

West Bracket – Gators vs Golden Eagles Handicapping Pick

This could quite possibly be the best game of the this year’s Sweet 16, and is definitely the most evenly matched, as the No. 3 Seed Marquette Golden Eagles take on the No. 7 Seed Florida Gators in the second game of a double header in Phoenix on Thursday.  

No. 7 Florida (25-10, SEC) v No. 3 Marquette (27-7, Big East)
Date/Time: 10:17 PM ET, Thursday, March 22, 2012
Venue: US Airways Center, Phoenix, Arizona
Broadcast: TBS
Spread: Marquette -1.5
Over/Under: 145

Matchup | Preview

Florida is playing possessed, but really hasn’t been tested yet this tournament, demolishing Virginia 71-45 and then annihilating Norfolk State 84-50.

Kenny Boynton scored 20 points in the Gators win over Norfolk–the worst loss ever for a No. 15 seed in the Round of 32.
In the meantime, Florida’s two tournament wins this season have come by a combined 60 points, pretty impressive considering the team entered the tournament struggling with their long-range ball.

However, since then the Gators have improve from behind the arc, knocking down 10 threes, just like they did on average during the regular season, against the Spartans who could not rebound from an early Florida 29-6 run or the relentless drubbing they received from the Gators backcourt of Boyton, Erving Walker, and Bradley Beal. All who combined for 49 points.

But as good as the offensive production was, just like many of the other Round of 32 games played in the West bracket, the Gators defense was a key element in avoiding elemination.  [soliloquy id=”82219″]

It held the Spartans to under 30 percent shooting from the field and just about 20 percent shooting from long range, something that won’t come as easily against the Golden Eagles who are a much more talented bunch. As they demonstrated by blowing through a very good BYU Cougars team 88-68, before eliminating Murray State 62-53 behind a late run as the Golden Eagles advanced to their second straight NCAA tournament Sweet 16.

Once again Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom, two of the best guards in the tournament, stepped up big time, scoring 17 points apiece including Crowder’s 12 in the second half.

The Golden Eagles defense also held up to the test, limiting the Racers to 31 percent shooting from the field, and just 19 percent from three-point land while forcing 16 turnovers.

Now all the G-birds have to do is take that same approach with Florida.

It won’ t be an easy task, though, as the Gators have showed that they cannot only hurt you from the low post, but from the perimeter as well. That’s a lot of hardwood to cover.

Prediction- Marquette–This game could go either way. But Marquette’s defense is just a wee bit better, which will be enough for them to move on to the Elite 8.

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