TV Schedule: Tuesday, Feb. 23, 7:00 p.m. ET, SEC Network
Arena: Stephen C. O’Connell Center, Gainesville, FL
As crazy as it sounds, the Vanderbilt Commodores may have saved their season by avoiding a home upset at the hands of the Georgia Bulldogs. Once one of the dark horses to be one of the best teams in the country, the Commodores are sitting at a measly 16-11 looking into the NIT and not the 2016 NCAA tournament.
That can change, however, as Vandy travels to Gainesville, FL to take on the 17-10 Florida Gators. The Gators will more than likely make it to the Big Dance and are just as desperate for a win over a fellow bubble team as the Commodores.
Facing Vanderbilt, the LSU Tigers, Kentucky Wildcats and Missouri Tigers to close out the season, all Florida really needs to do is beat two of these teams, avoid a loss to Missouri and win their opening game of the SEC tournament. If the Gators can beat Vanderbilt, Missouri and one of Kentucky or LSU, they should be able to make it into the 2016 NCAA tournament even if they lose early in the SEC tournament.
The good news for Florida coming into this one is that its record at home this season is pretty great, and Vanderbilt’s record on the road is terrible. Vanderbilt narrowly edged out Florida in Memorial Gym earlier this season by just one point, so Mike White and Co. will be more than familiar with how to slow down the Commodores’ offense.
I expect both of these teams to make the NCAA tournament, but Florida edges out Vandy at home due to a big game from KeVaughn Allen.
Prediction: Florida 62, Vanderbilt 60