TV Schedule: Tuesday, Feb. 16, 9:00 p.m. ET, ESPN
Arena: Stegeman Coliseum, Athens, Ga.
Line: Florida (-1)
Currently predicted to be in the 2016 NCAA tournament, the Florida Gators have surprised many with the success they have had under first-year head coach Mike White. However, White, who had a successful coaching career with the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, inherited an extremely talented lineup that underperformed last season under Billy Donovan and now looks more than capable of pulling off a few upsets.
Although Georgia has lost a ton of steam after finishing No. 3 in the SEC last season, the Bulldogs have turned things around by only losing to the top teams in conference play. Georgia, which has a 17-9 record bereft of great wins, desperately needs a win over an expected high-RPI team like the Gators. One loss to one of the lower-tier SEC teams could mean that this team will not even make the NIT, but a win against Florida could propel them into the bubble discussion.
That being said, Florida should run away with this one, despite it being on the road in Athens. Neither team excels on offense, but the Gators lead the Bulldogs in terms of points scored per game, as well as allowing less points per game. The loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide hurt, but back-to-back road wins over Georgia and the South Carolina Gamecocks could solidify their place in the Big Dance.
Prediction: Florida 68, Georgia 63