Mississippi State vs Florida Prediction - Basketball Picks 3/9/23
Florida Gators (16-15) vs Mississippi State Bulldogs (20-11)
Game Info: Thursday, March 9, 2023 at 1:00 pm (Bridgestone Arena)
Betting Odds: Florida Gators +3.5 -- Over/Under: 128.5 Click Here for the Latest Odds
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The Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Florida Gators will meet in Nashville to face off in the first round of the SEC Tournament at the Bridgestone Arena on SECN.
Mississippi State dropped to 20-11 after falling to Vanderbilt in Nashville. The Bulldogs fell behind early, and ended up losing five, 77-72. Mississippi State is scoring 65.8 points per game, while allowing 58.7 ppg, and shooting 42.4% from the floor.
Mississippi State turned their season around with a late January surge, and they’ll have a compelling bubble case with a strong effort at the tournament. Senior forward Tolu Smith went for a game-high 27 points in the season finale at Vanderbilt, and he leads State in scoring (15.4) and rebounding (8.3). Junior guard Shakeel Moore scored 20 points in the home finale win over SC, and he’s second on the team at 9.8 ppg. Former Memphis forward D.J. Jeffries double-doubled in the win over Memphis, and he’s up to averaging 8.9 ppg and 6.0 rpg.
Florida moved to 16-15 after beating LSU in Gainesville. The Gators trailed the Tigers at the break, they stormed back to win by twelve, 79-67. Florida is scoring 71.3 points per game, while allowing 68.1 ppg, and shooting 43.7% from the floor.
Florida recovered to win their final two games, but they’ll face an uphill battle with a rugged Mississippi State squad here. The absence of veteran forward Collin Castleton has been glaring down the stretch, and prior to missing the last six games, he was Florida’s leading scorer and rebounder. Sophomore guard Will Richard stepped up to combine for 46 in the last two wins over LSU and UGA, and he’s up to 10.8 ppg. Freshman guard Riley Kugel came alive in February, and after scoring 18 points or more in six of the final seven games, he’s averaging 9.7 ppg.
Mississippi State is 16-14-1 against the spread this season, with a 12-19 over/under record. Florida is 15-16 ATS this year, with a 15-16 o/u record.
This might mark the final stand for Florida, as they will have to face the arguably the toughest group of guys in the conference. Mississippi State makes offense hard to come by, and with the Gators coming into this contest without Collin Castleton, they will have a tough time containing Tolu Smith up front. I like the Bulldogs bullying their way into advancing and covering along the way for this first round matchup.