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CBB: SEC Betting on Improving Reputation (9:00 PM ET, ESPN)

CBB: SEC Betting on Improving Reputation (9:00 PM ET, ESPN)



CBB: SEC Betting on Improving Reputation (9:00 PM ET, ESPN)

The Southeastern Conference has taken as many hits as those in the banking industry for their lackluster play this season. Florida & South Carolina will try to restore some of that lost reputation when they square off tonight in Gainesville at 9:00 PM ET


2009-02-03

The Southeastern Conference has taken as many hits as those in the banking industry for their lackluster play this season. Florida & South Carolina will try to restore some of that lost reputation when they square off tonight in Gainesville at 9:00 PM ET on ESPN. Be sure to check the latest game info on the BETTING TRENDS and GAME MATCHUP page before confirming your wagers.

Last night, even Dick Vitale managed to take a break from showering his praise on Duke and North Carolina and said the best teams in the SEC would have a hard time being anything other than middle of the road in the Big East. Ouch! Though the conference is deeply rooted in football, the fans and league officials are similar to Portland Trailblazers general manager Kevin Pritchard, never at a loss to take praise even when they had little to do with situations. For the moment, SEC basketball is reminiscent of Big East football a few years ago (gasp), where ridicule came more frequently than praise.

Florida (18-4, 7-8 ATS) could have done something to alter this national perspective, but were dragged around like a gator by the tail at Tennessee in being wiped out 79-63 as 3.5-point underdogs. Though the Gators have talented players, they are dependant on point guard Nick Calathes to set the offense in motion. Against the Vols, Calathes picked up two quick fouls less than three minutes into the game. He ended up playing just nine total minutes in the first half and Florida never found an offensive flow.

We were a little rushed," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "We took some ill-advised shots. On a couple of those possessions you want to push and attack, but there has to be a balance to it, and sometimes we didn't show good judgment." Coach Donovan teams are 31-20 ATS off a road loss.

Maybe it is a team like South Carolina (16-4, 8-7 ATS) that could bring excitement to the SEC. After suffering a pair of road defeats, the Gamecocks hosted Florida 17 days ago and ran away, literally, with a win which has started a streak. South Carolina scored on breakaway throw and catch at the buzzer to defeat the Gators 70-69 at home and have a four game conference winning streak after junior guard Devan Downey provided the winning basket on an eight-foot jumper with three seconds left for a 78-77 come from behind triumph at Kentucky.

Downey is the face of this club that is 13-4 ATS in road games after three consecutive conference games, having scored 20 or more points in half their games. A win in Gainesville keeps South Carolina in first place in the SEC East race, pending the outcome of Kentucky game. Even with the conference having a down year in basketball, any team being able to go to Lexington and Florida and win in consecutive games would have to draw attention. The Gamecocks are 11-2 ATS on the road versus teams outscoring their opponents by eight or more points a game after 15 or more contests over the last three seasons.

Sportsbook.com has established Florida as nine-point favorites, with a total of 151.5. The Gamecocks are 17-7 ATS as a road underdog or pick, however 0-6 against the spread if previous upset win came as a road dog. The Gators are 13-0 (4-3 ATS) at home playing a non-conference schedule loaded with empty tomato cans. Florida is only 2-5 ATS off a loss.

Florida has won nine of ten (5-5 ATS) at home against South Carolina, with the Gamecocks having covered four in a row. ESPN will provide the coverage starting at 9 Eastern with Brad Nessler and Jimmy Dykes, with the South Carolina attempting to mask the fact they allow 49.1 percent shooting on the road, while clanking only 57 percent of free throws in league play.

StatFox Power Line - Florida by 10



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