Sunshine State Showdown: Grab Gators With Your NCAA Basketball Pick vs 'Canes

Joe Catalano

Tuesday, December 8, 2015 4:01 PM UTC

Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015 4:01 PM UTC

Our NCAA basketball handicapper takes a look at Florida vs. Miami game, as this sunshine state battle brings up a brain-storm of ideas, we came up with a sharp NCAA basketball pick.

Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 pm EST tonight at the Bank United Center in Coral Gables, Florida. At 5 Dimes, the Hurricanes are a 6.5 point betting favorite and the total for the game is listed at 144.


Sheldon McClellan Should Get More "PT"
This is key for the Canes as he's the leading scorer on the team and while coming off of an injury in his last game that saw him see only 21 minutes of action and score 8 points. He's facing a Florida Gators team which prides themselves on their exceptional defense.

The Gators are a top 20 defensive team in the nation, allowing 58.7 points, while holding their opponent to just 36.8% from the field shooting-wise and are dominant in the plus/minus column in the rebounding department.

Miami's 2nd leading scorer, Angel Rodriguez, had a huge game against Florida last year, but look for Miami head coach, Jim Larranaga to give McLellan all of the minutes that he can handle as offensive opportunities will be an issue for Miami in this game despite their fast start out of the gate this season.

McClellan is averaging 15.9 points in his senior season, but has been somewhat quiet and lacking aggression in his last handful of games. While he was inefficient against Butler, scoring 8 points, he poured in 27 points against the Utah Utes and that shows that he's capable of matching up against a top 25 team. I look for McClelllan to have a solid showing as pride is also on the line in this inter-state matchup.

Must Read: NCAA Basketball Betting Strategies

Tonye Jekiri
I mentioned Angel Rodriguez and he's going to also have to come up big in this spot, but one player that doesn't seek his offense and could be a factor in this game is 7 foot center, senior, Tonye Jekiri.

Tekiri is a terror on the boards as he's had double figure rebounding games in all of his last 5 games. He can score when the right opportunity come about as he's a 53.8% shooter from the field, but defense and cleaning the glass are his major functions. He's averaging 9.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game. Miami must have his intimidating presence in the paint if they expect to remain in the top  AP top 25 poll.

Florida's one loss this season has come to a top 25 team in Purdue as the Gators were handled quite easily 85-70. That said, they have held every other opponent to 63 points or less.


Owning the Boards
Florida's top 3 scorers are all big-time rebounders as this is a team that averages 46 rebounds per game. Dorian Finney-Smith (14.3 points, 9 rebounds, 3.4 assists), John Egbunu (12.7 points, 8.3 rebounds), and Devin Robinson (11.1 points, 8 rebounds) will all be a major factor in this game and I think this will create trouble for Miami. This isn't a great shooting team, but a Florida team that doesn't commit many turnovers and that's key to winning any game.

Even though Florida could keep this a low scoring affair, there's too much talent on both teams to bother with the total. Look for Florida to keep this game air tight with their defense and power on the inside and let's not forget that they will have fans travel south in support of their Gators. Take Florida as your NCAA basketball pick against the NCAA basketball odds tonight.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Gators +6.5 at Pinnacle

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