NCAAB Picks: Ole Miss vs. Florida

Jeff Grant

Sunday, March 17, 2013 12:08 PM GMT

The Florida Gators have swept the SEC regular season and tournament championship just once in school history. They prepare to try and accomplish that feat again when taking on the Mississippi Rebels Sunday.


Let’s take a closer look at the betting odds for this rivalry matchup, with the opening tip scheduled for 1:00 p.m. ET on ESPN.

On the bubble

Despite winning six of its last seven games, Mississippi is still on the bubble in hopes of making the field of 68 in the upcoming NCAA Tournament, which makes this contest at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville the program’s most important game of the year.

The Rebels have covered the number in both of their tournament games thus far, including a 64-52 come-from-behind victory over the Vanderbilt Commodores as 3.5-point favorites Saturday.

Dominant team

Florida has been the conference’s most dominant team from the start, while it leads the nation in outscoring foes by an average of 18.6 points per game.  The Gators will tip off as a double-digit favorite in this event for a third consecutive contest.

Over the last two-plus seasons, the Gators are just 28-28-1 against the spread (ATS) versus SEC foes, while the OVER is 27-25 in that situation.

Beyond the arc

Marshall Henderson is one of the more captivating personalities in college basketball, as he ranks second in the nation averaging 3.9 made 3-pointers per game.  The junior guard leads Ole Miss in scoring 20.0 points per game.

Mississippi shoots 33.2 percent from beyond the arc, but it will have a hard time even matching that percentage Sunday, considering Florida has limited opponents to 29.8 percent from that distance on a neutral floor.

Defense wins championships

The Gators have held 23 of their 32 opponents to under 60 points this season, as they possess the nation’s third-best defense in terms of scoring average—allowing 53.3 points per game.

Florida captured a 78-64 victory over Mississippi as 17.5-point home favorites in the only regular-season meeting between these teams on Feb. 2, while going OVER the posted total of 134.

Why do I bring that result up?  The Rebels haven’t been held below 60 points on the offensive end during the 2012-13 campaign.

[gameodds]14/224859/43/us[/gameodds]

Prediction

In shooting an SBR video on this game Saturday afternoon, I recommended that followers should back the Rebels in this affair as their NCAAB pick. They’ve gone 5-1 ATS as an underdog this year.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Mississippi Rebels +11 at Pinnacle