The Florida Gators are set to head into the NCAA Tournament as the overall No. 1 seed and have not dropped a game since their one-point loss to Connecticut
way back in early December. Florida still has the pressing business of actually winning the SEC tournament before Billy Donovan and his squad embark on the
road to another National Championship. However, if the Gators happen to actually lose a game before then, the team will probably still remain a No. 1 seed
even if it falls behind undefeated Wichita State and two-loss Arizona in the overall rankings.
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The Gators will be one of the most experienced teams heading into the 2014 NCAA Tournament after returning many players from last season’s Elite-Eight team
that ended its run with a tough 20-point loss to Michigan. Coach Donovan is only seven years removed since taking Florida to consecutive national title
wins back in 2006 and 2007. Let’s take a closer look at Florida’s 2014 NCAA Tournament odds with picks, analysis and predictions. All odds come from Sportsbook.ag
Florida 2014 NCAA Tournament Story Lines
The Gators lost two games early in the year
—to then-No. 20 Wisconsin and then-No.12 Connecticut—and have not looked back since. The squad ripped through the season, beating four AP Top 25-ranked
teams and a handful of other very talented squads, with only a few competitive matchups along the way. Florida spent the majority of the season being
overshadowed by the flashier teams such as Syracuse, Arizona, Duke and Kansas, but it quietly forced itself into the national stage with dominant play and
an extended winning streak.
Senior guard Casey Prather led the team with 14.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game over 27.9 minutes per night. Sophomore Michael Frazier II
also helped the Gators with 12.9 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists during 30.2 minutes of action per night. Florida averaged 71.5 points per game, but
it really excelled on the defensive end, where the squad allowed only 58.5 points per game while out-rebounding its opponents by 10 boards per night.
Florida 2014 NCAA Tournament Odds and Key Trends
Florida is currently the favorite to win the national title heading into the NCAA Tournament at +450 odds, according to Sportsbook.ag. The team finished
the regular season with a 14-12-1 overall ATS record and was 9-17 “over/under”. Florida has covered three straight games but is 5-5 ATS in its last 10
overall matchups. The squad is also only 2-3 in its last five games as a double-digit favorite.
Florida is fifth in the nation in points allowed and 26th in rebounds allowed. The Gators will be entering the NCAA Tournament as one of the best defensive
squads in all of college basketball as they are also the 32nd-ranked team in opponent’s field goal percentage in keeping the opposing team to an
average of 40.1 percent shooting per game.
Florida Odds to Win 2014 NCAA Tournament Picks and Predictions
The Gators have been a consensus Top 2 team for quite some time now, and once Syracuse faltered late in the season, the title of ‘best team in the nation’
was passed on to the SEC powerhouse. Florida is a solid favorite to win the NCAA Tournament and leads the next team in line—the Kansas Jayhawks, who are
receiving +650 odds—by a decent margin.
This year’s tournament will probably be a competitive one as there are 10 to 12 teams that have a realistic shot at making a deep run and winning the
entire thing. Florida, however, is probably the best team in the nation and is one of a handful of squads that also has experience. Backing the Gators to
win the national title with a bet would be a solid wager to make, but at only +450 might not have the most value.
Florida may be the best team, but they are not the most talented, and during a single-elimination tournament there are probably better spots to wager on.
Florida’s offense might be the weak link this equation as the team makes another deep run, but ultimately fall short of national title.
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Read more articles by George Monroy