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College basketball odds: no. 20 Vanderbilt at no. 14 Florida

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With March Madness looming, a couple of ranked SEC teams compete in Saturday’s college basketball odds. No. 14 Florida (23-6, 12-3 SEC) hosts No. 20 Vanderbilt (21-8, 9-6 SEC) with the loser jeopardizing their AP top 25 ranking. The Gators hold a – 3 ½ spread in this matchup.

Both teams lost last Saturday and are looking to regain their momentum before heading to the NCAA tournament set to begin this month. The Gators lost to the Mississippi State Bulldogs 71-64 while the Commodores fell to the Arkansas Razorbacks 89-78.

With a 12-3 league record, Florida will finish first in the SEC East. Vanderbilt (9-6) and No. 23 Kentucky (9-6) are each three games back and have run out of games with which to make up ground on the Gators’ lead. These are the only nationally-ranked teams representing the SEC.

Florida will need to contain guard John Jenkins (19.4 points per game) and forward Jeffery Taylor (14.5 points per game and 5.5 rebounds). Both have propelled the Commodores to rank 21st in the nation in scoring and Vanderbilt features four players that average double figures per contest. Additionally, the Commodores have a solid frontcourt tandem of Lance Goulbourne (6.9 points, 7.2 rebounds) and Festus Ezeli (12.8 points, 6.3 rebounds).

Florida does have 5’8” guard Erving Walker (14.4 points per game) who is the leading scorer for the Gators. However, Vandy’s backcourt will likely post up the undersized Walker in offensive situations. Florida also has guard Kenny Boynton (13 points per game) at its disposal. The Gators frontcourt are headlines by center Vernon Macklin (11.3 points, 6.3 rebounds) and forward Chandler Parsons (10.3 points, 7.3 rebounds).

Overall, this is a solid matchup but Florida has the edge. The Gators are 14-3 at home while the Commodores are 5-5 on the road. Florida is a more defensively-oriented team averaging 71 points on offense while allowing only 61.9 points on defense. Vandy scores 76.7 on offense and allows 66.8 points on defense per contest.

Florida seems poised to make their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2007. The Gators hold a – 3 ½ spread in Saturday’s college basketball odds.

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