Two-seed Florida Gators basketball (21-14) has been on quite a roll during two road victories in the 2016 NIT and will hope to continue their newfound success Wednesday night against the four-seed George Washington Colonials (25-10) in Washington, D.C.
Florida advanced to the quarterfinals on the back of a wire-to-wire 74-66 win over three-seed Ohio State. The NIT appearance is UF’s first since 2009, and Florida holds a 13-11 record all-time in the event.
The Gators will face George Washington in a road game due to renovations to the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. It will be the first time UF has played three straight road games since 1999.
Florida is 3-1 in the NIT quarterfinals, dropping their only game in this round during their last appearance in the NIT in 2009 (71-62 vs. Penn State).
In their last game, the Gators succeeded behind the continued emergence of junior point guard Kasey Hill. Freshman center Kevarrius Hayes also stepped up in the absence of redshirt sophomore John Egbunu (thumb surgery).
Should Florida win, it would advance to the semifinals of the NIT for the fourth time in school history and first since 2008. Games will take place at Madison Square Garden in New York next Tuesday.
Location: Charles E. Smith Center – Washington, D.C. [Capacity: 4,538]
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter
Odds: Florida +2 | O/U: 148
Pick: The Gators have a lot working against them on Tuesday including a delayed travel schedule (UF’s plane left hours late due to mechanical problems), tough small-school road environment and an injury to a starting center. Still, head coach Mike White seems to have found a way to motivate his team in this tournament, and Florida’s play over its last two games has been indicative of that. Though the lessons learned this season would tell one to pick against the Gators being consistent and playing the same as they have in previous games, giving a tested team with better athletes two points in a game like this is a bit ridiculous. Take Florida and the under.