Two teams whose seasons have gone in very different directions of late will face off in an SEC clash on Wednesday night. LSU started off the year looking like the team to beat in the SEC, before hitting a rough pitch that has dropped them to third in the conference standings currently. Florida looked like a mediocre squad for the better part of the season, before a recent hot streak has propelled the Gators into fourth in the conference standings. In a battle that will help determine seeding in the SEC conference tournament and possibly lock in one team’s NCAA Tournament candidacy, we can expect a hard-fought battle between two rivals on Wednesday night.
LSU Looking to Break Out of Slump
At the beginning of the month, LSU sat at 17-4 and 8-0 in SEC play, comfortably atop one of the country’s deepest conferences. Since that time, the Tigers have dropped four of six games and fallen to third in the SEC. LSU has also dropped three consecutive road games, with their last win away from home coming more than one month ago. After knocking off the Gators by two points in Baton Rouge earlier in the season, LSU will look to get back to it’s early-season winning ways with an upset win over Florida.
LSU’s success is essentially predicated on its ability to score the basketball at an extremely high pace. The Tigers rank 8th in the country averaging 80.8 points per game on the offensive end, the second-highest mark in the SEC. Five different LSU players have averaged double figure scoring this year, with guard Skylar Mays leading the way at 16.4 points per game. Unfortunately that fast pace on offense has led LSU to rank 281st in the country in scoring defense, giving up 73.2 points per game on the year.
Gators Hope to Chomp LSU’s Tournament Hopes
Florida’s season has revolved around a resurgent mindset after a disappointing start to the campaign. At the start of February, the Gators sat 1at 12-8 and juts 4-3 in the SEC, looking like a team that would likely not be dancing in March. Since the calendar switched over to February, however, Florida has pieced together a stretch of five wins in seven games, including a perfect 3-0 mark at home. The Gators will not only be looking to avenge an early season loss to LSU, but will also be hoping for their fourth consecutive win in front of their home crowd.
Florida is much more defensive-minded than LSU, as the Gators have given up just 66.4 points per game on the year. On offense, the Gators rank in the middle of the country with an average of 72.3 points per game. In its 20 losses on the season, Florida has put up only 63.3 points per game, and the Gators will certainly need a stronger offensive effort to knock down the sharp-shooting Tigers on Wednesday night. Forwards Keyontae Johnson and Kerry Blackshear Jr. lead the Gators offensive attack, averaging just over 27 points per game combined on the season. Florida will likely need its two big men to step up to notch the key conference win on Wednesday.
This one figures to be a close battle between two pretty evenly matched squads, as evidenced by a two-point margin when they met last month. With Florida having the home court advantage and LSU struggling in true road contests, the edge has to be given to the Gators in this one. I don’t think this turns into a blowout by any means, but Florida gets it done in front of the home crowd and notches another quality win for the postseason resume. Take the Florida Gators -5 at RealBookies.com; our favorite pay per head location.
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