College Basketball: Back Florida vs. Arkansas post-Auburn W?

College Basketball: Back Florida vs. Arkansas post-Auburn W?

This past Saturday, Florida took a huge step in landing on the right side of the March Madness bubble by upsetting Auburn, the SEC’s first-place team. Tonight, they look to further boost their resume by defeating a second straight ranked foe at home, as #18 Arkansas visits Gainesville.

Auburn, who entered Saturday’s matchup ranked second in the country, led Florida by eight points with 11 minutes left. But the Gators went on a 12-2 run to take a 48-46 lead with 7:38 left and would not trail the rest of the way. Auburn had a chance to win it in the final seconds but somehow couldn’t even get a shot off.

It wasn’t enough to put the Gators on the right side of the bubble at ESPN, but it was at CBS, where the Gators now come in as a #12 seed.

Back-to-back wins over top-20 foes wouldn’t definitively lock up their place in the field, but it would go a long way. Can the Gators slow down the rolling Razorbacks and move one step closer to security?

Here’s a look at the odds and matchup information for tonight’s showdown in Gainesville.

Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Florida Gators College Basketball Matchup Info and Betting Odds

Matchup Information

  • Game Matchup: #18 Arkansas Razorbacks (21-6, 10-4 SEC, t-3rd in SEC) vs. Florida Gators (17-10, 7-7 SEC, t-5th in SEC)
  • Venue & Location: Exactech Arena at Stephen C. O'Connell Center (Gainesville, Florida)
  • Date: Tuesday, February 22, 2022
  • Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN2

Betting Odds

  • Spread: Arkansas -1.5 (+105), Florida +1.5 (-125)
  • Total: OVER 135.5 (-110), UNDER 135.5 (-110)
  • Moneyline: Arkansas -110, Florida -110

Odds are via BetMGM.

No Letdown for Gators After Upset of Auburn?

Given that Florida has 17 wins overall, wins over Ohio State and Auburn, and a .500 record in one of the deeper conferences in college basketball, their March Madness hopes shouldn’t still be shaky.

But metrics don’t love the Gators, who have a lower NET (50) than Virginia Tech (41), Mississippi State (47), and Washington State (48), three power conference teams who are not in the field at either ESPN or CBS.

March Madness Metrics for the Florida Gators

  • NET: 50
  • Quadrant 1 Record: 2-7
  • Road Record: 2-6
  • Good Wins: vs. Ohio State (neutral site), vs. Auburn
  • Bad Losses: vs. Texas Southern

Beating the lower-rated teams on your schedule won’t give you a major boost but losing team can significantly hurt. And that is the case for Florida, who lost by 15 to Texas Southern (208 NET) at home on December 6. Texas Southern might win the SWAC title, but that will still rate as a bad loss no matter what.

Additionally, while the Gators own a valuable win over Mississippi State, who continues to hover around the bubble picture, they lost at Oklahoma, who was once solidly in the field of 68 but is now a fellow bubble team after an ugly month and a half.

With metrics not particularly on their side and a lack of road wins, Saturday’s matchup against Auburn was an opportunity that Florida needed to take full advantage of. And they did just that, responding when their backs were against the wall to stun one of the best teams in college basketball.

Now, they must avoid a letdown against one of the hottest teams in the country, an Arkansas team that made it 11 wins in 12 games by beating Tennessee on Saturday in a matchup of ranked teams.

Another strong defensive effort is key for the hosts. Auburn went to Gainesville as one of the nation’s highest-scoring teams, but Florida became only the fourth team this season to hold them under 70 points (Loyola-Chicago, South Florida, and Missouri are the others).

If they can replicate that effort tonight, the outcome will likely be favorable. When the Gators have held an opponent to 65 or fewer points this season, they are 14-2.

Defensive Stats & Metrics for Florida for the 2021-22 College Basketball Season

  • Points Allowed Per Game: 64.0 (42nd in the country)
  • Steals Per Game: 8.6 (tied for 27th)
  • Three-Point Field Goal Percentage Against: 30.5 (50th)
  • Defensive Efficiency: 96.3 (53rd)

Their only losses when they have allowed 65 or fewer points were in January at home against LSU (64-58) and last week at Texas A&M (56-55).

But can the Gators generate enough offense to see off Arkansas? Florida comes into tonight’s matchup averaging only 69.7 points per game, which is tied for 219th in the country. Overall, their offensive numbers make for some tough reading.

Offensive Stats & Metrics for the Florida Gators for the 2021-22 College Basketball Season

  • Points Per Game: 69.7 (tied for 219th)
  • Field Goal Shooting Percentage: 42.1 (tied for 276th)
  • Three-Point Shooting Percentage: 30.5 (323rd)
  • Offensive Efficiency: 109.7 (68th)

Interestingly, despite not shooting the ball well, the past three-game stretch marks the longest they have gone this season without hitting the 70-point mark.

Another big game for senior guard Tyree Appleby would be a big help. Appleby scored a season-high 26 points against Auburn and matched a season high with five three-pointers. Appleby, a native of Jacksonville, Arkansas, had one of his better games of last season against Arkansas, scoring 16 points in a loss in Fayetteville.

Arkansas vs. Florida Spread & O/U Prediction & Pick

Florida 67, Arkansas 63 (Florida +1.5 (Florida +1.5 & UNDER 135.5)

The Razorbacks are one of the hottest teams in the country right now, but they have been the most vulnerable on the road. Five of their six losses this season are away from the fortress that is Bud Walton Arena, with their lone home loss coming against Vanderbilt, of all teams.

While you might be inclined to associate Arkansas’s success with putting a lot of points on the board–and you’d be partially right, as Arkansas is 41st in the country in scoring at 77.3 points per game–defense has been a big part of their recent hot streak. The Razorbacks have held nine of their past dozen opponents under 70 points and limited Tennessee to just 48 points in a 10-point win on Saturday.

With solid defensive reputations on both sides, a low-scoring game is the lean here, with the Gators pulling out a close win to add another positive line on their March Madness resume.

By Eddie Griffin