Sweet 16 Odds & Predictions – Florida Gulf Coast vs. Florida 3/29

Last Updated: March 27th, 2013 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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FGCU EaglesOur 2013 NCAA Tournament predictions continue on Friday, March 29th with the Sweet 16. Join us as the #6 Florida Gulf Coast Eagles and the #2 Florida Gators go to war in what should be a remarkable opening game of the fourth round of the NCAA Tournament.

March Madness: Florida Gulf Coast Eagles vs. Florida Gators
Florida Gulf Coast vs. Florida Location: Dallas Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, TX
Florida Gulf Coast vs. Florida Date/Time: Friday, March 29th, 9:57 p.m. (ET)
2013 March Madness On TV: TBS

Key #1: Florida needs to have used its few days off wisely
There’s no such thing as overlooking a team at this point in the dance. It’s clear to see what happened in the case of Florida Gulf Coast in the first week of the tournament. Georgetown, a perennially underachieving team in the NCAA Tournament, just didn’t seem to care all that much about what the Eagles were doing on the court, especially in the second half. San Diego State probably spent most of the week leading up to the dance focusing in on what Oklahoma and then Georgetown could bring to the table. Now though, comes the hard part for FGCU. Can the team really ultimately figure out how to beat the Gators? Florida is going to have two more big time games to watch that the Eagles played, and it is going to have had a full four days to look at tape and prepare to take on this exciting bunch. As long as Florida isn’t caught napping, something that we don’t suspect to see happen, the orange and blue should be on their way to the Elite Eight without all that much in the way of hassles.

Sweet 16 Odds at WagerWeb Sportsbook
#15 Florida Gulf Coast Eagles +13
#3 Florida Gators -13
Over/Under 135
Click Here to Bet Your Sweet 16 Picks!

Key #2: The Eagles have to continue to believe that they belong here
This really is the point in the tourney when a lot of the much smaller schools start to bow out of the NCAA Tournament. Cinderella has a nice run into the second week of the dance, but after that, the clock strikes midnight, the chariot turns into a pumpkin, and that’s the end of the whole glass slipper story. Still, so many of these underdog teams feel like they are just happy to be in the moment. Granted, we know that the Eagles are out there having the most fun of any of the 16 teams that are left in the field, and if they were beaten by 60 on Friday night, they’ll still leave Dallas with their heads held high. However, this is where we are going to see whether Head Coach Andy Enfield and his gang are really ready for the big time or not. The cameras have been on lowly little Florida Gulf Coast for a full week, and there is no doubt that this is the biggest thing that ever hit this campus. Will FGCU act like it belongs here and challenge the Gators the same way that it challenged San Diego State and Georgetown? That’s the question that badly needs to be answered.


Key #3: The Gators have to put this game away with their defense
Regardless as to whether or not Florida Gulf Coast truly is a team that is worthy of being in the Sweet 16 or not, we do know one thing from that first week of the tourney. We know that this team can run, and we know that it can score. Not just anyone can score 78 on Georgetown and 81 against San Diego State. Those were two very strong defensive teams. The Gators though, have a tendency to be in a different league from that standpoint. This is a very athletic team and is one that has the guards that should be able to slow down G Brett Comer and the gang. A lot has been made of the running style that the Eagles deploy, and we have seen those hammer ally-oop dunks over and over again over the course of the few days. F Erik Murphy is going to stay at home though, and he isn’t going to get lured out of position by all of the ball movement and the speed of the game. Simply put, Florida has to slow this thing down, take the air out of the basketball, and force the game into half-court set after half-court set. It’s not flashy, but it’s not dangerous either, and as we have seen, it’s when FGCU starts getting flashy that it is really getting the crowd into the game.

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Posted in NCAA Basketball - Last Updated on Wednesday, March 27th, 2013 @ 5:27 pm (EST)
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