UCF vs Florida Prediction - Basketball Picks 3/15/23

Florida Gators (16-16) vs Central Florida Knights (18-14)

Game Info: Wednesday, March 15, 2023 at 7:00 pm (Stephen C. O'Connell Center)

Betting Odds: Florida Gators -2.5 -- Over/Under: 140 Click Here for the Latest Odds

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The UCF Knights will make the two-hour trip up to Gainesville to face the Florida Gators in the first round of the NIT from the Stephen C. O’Connell Center Center on ESPN2. Florida leads the all-time series, 10-1. 

UCF Betting Preview

Central Florida moved to 18-14 after losing to Memphis in the AAC quarterfinals. The Knights trailed the Tigers at the break, and they’d end falling by five, 81-76. UCF is scoring 72.1 points per game, while allowing 65.9 ppg, and shooting 42.7% from the field.

Central Florida gave eventual AAC champions a run for their money, and they’ll look to put on-up their Sunshine foes here. Freshman forward Taylor Hendricks will look to improve his draft stock after struggling against the Tigers, but he posted a 25-point double-double in the season finale win over ECU, and he leads UCF in scoring (15.1) and rebounding (6.9). Senior guard C.J. Kelly scored a season-high 28 points versus Memphis, and he’s second on the team at 13.1 ppg.   

Florida Betting Preview

Florida is 16-16 after losing to Mississippi State in the second round of the SEC Tournament. The Gators fought back against the Bulldogs and forced overtime, but they’d end up falling one point short, 69-68. Florida is scoring 71.3 points per game, while allowing 68.1 ppg, and shooting 43.7% from the floor.

Florida struggled in February after losing star forward Colin Castleton, and they’ve yet to find consistency on the offensive end. Freshman guard Riley Kugel has quietly emerged in his absence, and after scoring 19 points or more in four of the last five games, he’s up to 9.8 ppg. Former SBU guard Kyle Lofton scored 16 points in the season finale win over LSU, and he leads UF in assists (3.6), while scoring 8.9 ppg.

UCF vs Florida Trends

Central Florida is 16-14-2 against the spread this season, with a 18-12-2 over/under record. Florida is 16-16 ATS this year, with a 16-16 o/u record. The Over is 10-3-1 in UCF's last 14 overall.

Corey's Free Pick

With a 16-16 record overall, against the spread and over/under, Florida fittingly has been the true definition of average this season, and they can be targeted. The Gators naturally struggled to recover after losing their top player in Colin Castleton this late in the season, and those issues may carry over into this contest. UCF played Memphis very well in their last outing, and nearly beat them despite a cold outing from their best player Taylor Hendricks. The freshman forward should be able to bounce back against a thin Florida front line, and the experience of the Knights’ backcourt should keep them in this game. The incentive of facing Gators should also add some motivation for UCF, and I like spotting them the points here.

The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a PickDawgz site consensus.

Mitch's Take...

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