NCAA Basketball Pick: Tournament Play of the Day Saturday

LT Profits Sports Group

Saturday, March 29, 2014 4:00 AM GMT

Every day this NCAA post-season, LT Profits Sports seeks one single tournament play that has the best chance of cashing. Here is their Tournament Play of the Day Saturday.

It should be midnight for Cinderella in one of the Elite Eight matchups of the NCAA Tournament Saturday evening when those 11th seeded Dayton Flyers (26-10, 13-6 away/neutral) take on the top seeded Florida Gators (35-2, 17-2 away/neutral) in the South Regional Final from FedExForum in Memphis, TN at 6:09 ET in a game televised nationally on TBS.

The point spread at Bet365 has Florida as a large favorite for this contest with the current line at -10 with odds of -110.

Dayton has been one of the better stories in this tournament as the team that finished in sixth place in an Atlantic 10 Conference that got six teams into this tournament is the last team from that conference standing as an 11-seed after beating three major-conference schools in Ohio State, Syracuse and Stanford to get to this Elite Eight.

Unfortunately, while all of those teams certainly have talent, the Flyers are still stepping up in class rather considerably here vs. one of the favorites to win this entire tournament, a Gator team that oh by the way is the number one team in the country both in the latest polls and on the Pomeroy Ratings. Yes Dayton is hot, but it has not faced a defense as good as Florida possesses all season and probably not for several years.

The Gators finally allowed a team to get into the 60s in this tournament in a 79-68 win over UCLA on Thursday, but the Gators were still able to clamp down there when it mattered vs. one of the best offenses in the country, holding the Bruins to just 13 points over the game’s final 10 minutes while pulling away to the 79-68 victory, and they are facing no such offense in this contest.

Florida is second in the country in defensive efficiency behind only Arizona and 21st in effective field goal percentage allowed at 44.9 percent, thanks to limiting teams to just 43.2 percent shooting on two-point attempts and 32.5 percent on three-pointers. Thus the Gators are third in the nation in points against at 57.8 per game.

But the Gators would not be in the Elite Eight without at least some balance, and while this is not like the great Florida teams of recent years that shot lights-out from beyond the three-point arc, it is still 18th in the country in offensive efficiency and 42nd in effective field goal percentage at a good 52.7 percent.

While the Gators are uncharacteristically 86th in three-point shooting, they also a better offensive rebounding team than past years at 35.4 percent vs. a national average of 31.4 percent.

Now, Dayton is certainly not a bad offensive team although the Flyers did not surpass 60 points in their first two tournament wins, and they finally returned to normal in an impressive 82-72 win over Stanford on Thursday while shooting 48.3 percent overall. After all, Dayton does rank 35th in the country in offensive efficiency while averaging 72.8 points vs. Division I opponents.

The problem though is Dayton certainly did not face a team that plays defense the way Florida does inside the Atlantic 10 and the Flyers faced a non-conference schedule ranked just 194th in SOS, so we expect the offense to struggle mightily vs. the Florida pressure. Furthermore, the Dayton defense is not much ranking 71st in efficiency and 134th in effective field goal percentage allowed while again not facing any teams the same caliber as Florida.

Give Dayton credit for getting to the point, but look for the Flyers to come back to earth with this class rise with Florida cruising to an easy double-digit victory in the South Region Final on Saturday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Florida -10 (-110)