Gators to Win 5th Straight Over Rival Georgia in Tuesday SEC Action

Matthew Jordan

Monday, January 29, 2018 6:12 PM UTC

Monday, Jan. 29, 2018 6:12 PM UTC

Rivals Florida and Georgia meet for the first time this season on the hardwood as the No. 23 Gators visit Athens on Tuesday night in an SEC Network telecast (7 p.m. ET)

No. 23 Florida Gators at Georgia BulldogsFree NCAAB Pick: FloridaBest Line Offered: SportsBetting

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First meeting between these bitter rivals, with a tip off of 7 p.m. ET (SEC Network & WatchESPN) although Florida considers Kentucky a bigger rival in basketball; it’s definitely Georgia No. 1 among SEC football rivals, however. UF will host the Dawgs on Valentine’s Day.

The Gators lead the all-time series 113-102, but UGA leads 62-39 in Athens. Florida won both last regular season. It was 80-76 in overtime in Gainesville behind 27 points from Canyon Barry (he’s no longer at Florida). Florida's reserves outscored Georgia's 51-5 in the Dawgs’ 14th straight loss at Florida. In Athens, UF won 72-60 despite blowing a 16-point lead. Chris Chiozza, still a key contributor on the Gators, had 15 points. Star Yante Maten led Georgia with 19 points.

The Gators are 9-3 ATS in the past 12 meetings and have won the past four SU.

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🎥 @DickieV and @AllisonW_Sports recap our win over Baylor for @espn 👇

— Gators Men’s Basketball (@GatorsMBK) January 27, 2018

Tourney Or Bust For Fox?

There’s no question that Georgia coach Mark Fox is on a very hot seat this year. This is his ninth season at the school, and he has led the Dawgs to only two NCAA Tournaments, last in 2015. The school hasn’t won a game in the Big Dance since 2002. Sure, it’s tough to build a powerhouse basketball program at a football school, but Florida’s doing just fine in that regard.

With Georgia at 12-8 overall (9-8 ATS) and 3-5 in the SEC, the only way the Dawgs are Dancing this year is if they win the SEC Tournament. This team should be better considering it has perhaps the SEC’s best player in senior forward Yante Maten. He leads the conference in scoring at 19.6 ppg and is second in rebounding at 9.2 rpg. He’s the only SEC player ranked among the conference’s Top 10 in scoring, rebounding, field-goal percentage and free throw percentage (seventh in both).

Maten has nine double-doubles on the season. The problem is that no other player averages more than 9.5 points (William Jackson II) or 5.9 rebounds (Derek Ogbeide) per game. Maten was held to 14 points and five rebounds in Saturday’s 56-51 loss at Kansas State in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. The Bulldogs’ only win in their past six is at LSU by a point on a Maten shot with five seconds left.

Florida (15-6 SU, 6-2 SEC, 11-9 ATS) will be headed back to the NCAA Tournament and could win the SEC title with Kentucky a bit down. The Gators are currently a game behind Auburn. Those two are scheduled to play just once, Feb. 24 in Gainesville. Florida already has a win at Kentucky and played a very challenging non-conference schedule against the likes of Duke (lost), Gonzaga (won), Florida State (lost), Cincinnati (won) and Clemson (lost).

The Gators hosted Baylor in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday and rolled to an 81-60 win. Chiozza led with 20 points, including 13 straight to extend a nine-point lead to 15 over a 4-minute, 26-second span in the first half. Chiozza had just one turnover and has gone 11 games in a row with two turnovers or less. Florida ranks 11th nationally in turnover margin.

Chiozza is averaging a well-rounded 12.6 points, 6.1 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game. You may remember he had had one of the most memorable buzzer-beating shots in last year’s NCAA Tournament to beat Wisconsin. Jalen Hudson comes off the bench to average a team-high 16.5 ppg for the Gators.

Florida has covered five straight games on Tuesdays, while UGA is 1-4 ATS in its past five in the SEC. Take the Gators on a Tuesday NCAAB pick.

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