West Region Featured Game - #7 Nevada vs. #10 Florida

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D.S. Williamson

March 19th, 2019

The Florida Gators and Nevada Wolf Pack begin their quest for a Final Four on Thursday in round 1 of the 2019 NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament.

Neither team won their respective conference tournament, meaning both hit the court at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines with something to prove. Check out BetAmerica odds, analysis, and a free pick for Gators-Wolf Pack.

NCAA Tournament West Region #10 Florida Gators vs #7 Nevada Wolf Pack Thursday, March 21st – Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines, IA – 6:50pm ET Odds: Nevada -2 (132.5)

Gators Hope to Carry Over Momentum From SEC Tournament

The Florida Gators entered the SEC Tournament on a 3-game losing streak. Knowing they had to play well, Florida turned it on, beating Arkansas 66-50 and LSU 76-73. Although they lost to Auburn 62-65 in the SEC Tournament Semifinals, the Gators bring a lot of momentum into this battle against the Wolf Pack on Thursday night.

Florida only averages 68.3 points per game. That stat doesn’t tell the real story, though, because top scorer KeVaughn Allen took a backseat to center Kevarrius Hayes in the SEC Tournament. Hayes dominated LSU with 11 points, 8 boards, and a block. In the loss to Auburn, Hayes scored 16, grabbed 12 boards, and had 2 blocks.

The senior’s play is the real reason Florida has momentum heading into the NCAA Tournament. With Allen keenly aware of getting the ball to Hayes on each possession, Florida’s hot play might continue on Thursday.

Nevada Must Rediscover Early Season Magic

During preseason, more than a few college football fans penciled in Nevada as a Final Four team. The Wolf Pack had a strong starting five led by the Martin Twins, Cody and Caleb. Cody leads the team in field goal percentage, 49.8, and assists, 5.1. Caleb leads the team in points per game, 19.2.

| Check out the recent episode of the Who Do Ya Like? Podcast featuring Scott Shapiro, where he is joined by a special guest to breakdown the Round of 64! |

For most of the season, the Martin Twins, along with Jordan Caroline, helped Nevada dominate their foes. Towards the end of the regular season and into the Mountain West Tournament, Nevada took a backward step, though.

The Wolf Pack lost 2 of their final 5 games. That doesn’t sound bad until we realize they play in one of the worst conferences in college basketball. To have any shot of moving to the Round of 32, Nevada must rediscover their early season form where they started out 14-0.

Gators vs Wolf Pack Betting Analysis and Pick

Based on trends, Florida should easily take this against the spread. The Gators are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following an ATS loss and 5-0 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games. Nevada is 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games overall and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games following an ATS loss.

However, Nevada could have a slight advantage with Jordan Caroline returning to the court. Caroline sat out the MWC Tournament Championship loss to the San Diego Aztecs. When Caroline was in the line-up versus SDSU on March 9, the Wolf Pack dominated the Aztecs 81-53.

Caroline averages 17.3 points and 9.6 rebounds per. He could take away anything Florida gets going with Kevvarius Hayes. If Hayes has to concentrate on Caroline, that will leave the Martin brothers to do their thing. This is one time going against the trends makes sense. After all, it's March Madness.

West Region Free Pick: Nevada -2

For a full breakdown of the West Region's Round of 64 games, click here!