TV Schedule: Saturday, Dec. 19, 8:00 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
Arena: BB&T Center, Sunrise, FL
Line: Florida (-8)
After two straight road losses to the No. 17 Miami Hurricanes and No. 1 Michigan State Spartans in which they kept it close, the Florida Gators will face off with the Oklahoma State Cowboys on Saturday night in the MetroPCS Orange Bowl Classic.
The Cowboys have three losses on the season, two of which came by just one possession. Unfortunately, both of these losses came to opponents who will likely not make the 2016 NCAA tournament. Despite being a talented team, Oklahoma State looks they might struggle in Big 12 play due to the overwhelming strength of the conference and their inability to score.
Florida, on the other hand, came into this season with fairly low expectations and have surpassed them by far. Their three losses on the season have all been to ranked teams, meaning that the Gators should be looking at a trip to the NIT as the worst-case scenario for the remainder of the year. Michael White has done an excellent job keeping this team together, and the future is extremely bright for Florida basketball with him at the helm.
That being said, I’m not sure the Gators have what it takes to blow out a quality opponent like Oklahoma State just yet. They are clearly the better team on paper, but eight-point favorites seems like a little too much at this point in the season. Watch for Florida to get better as we head towards March, and the Gators to win a close one Saturday night.
Prediction: Florida 68, Oklahoma State 65