Florida basketball vs. Texas Tech: Prediction, pick, line, odds, watch live stream online

By Adam Silverstein
March 17, 2018
Florida basketball vs. Texas Tech: Prediction, pick, line, odds, watch live stream online

Image Credit: ESPN Images

The Florida Gators are back in the 2018 NCAA Tournament after a bumpy season filled with constant rough patches. Nevertheless, after winning its first-round matchup, the No. 6 seed will take on the No. 3 Texas Tech Red Raiders in the Round of 32 as part of the East Region on Saturday evening.

Here’s what you need to know and how you can watch Gators-Raiders.

Viewing information

Event: 2018 NCAA Tournament — Round 2
Date: Saturday, March 17 | Time: 8:40 p.m. ET
Location: American Airlines Center — Dallas, Texas [Capacity: 20,000]

TV: TNT (Spero Dedes, Steve Smith, Len Elmore)
Live stream: March Madness Live | March Madness Live apps
SiriusXM: 203 | Radio: Westwood One [Listen here]

Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

Tale of the tape

(6) Florida Gators (3) Texas Tech Red Raiders
Head coach Mike White Chris Beard
Record 21-12 25-9
Conference Southeastern Big 12

Prediction and analysis

Spread: Florida +1.5 | O/U: 134

This one is difficult. When you consider that Florida is the lower seed playing a de facto road game, there’s no good reason why this spread is 1.5 points. The question we need to ask ourselves is whether the Gators’ momentum from the second half of the St. Bonaventure game will carry over against a Texas Tech team that had to grind out a win over Stephen F. Austin. These teams are exceedingly evenly matched, both boasting top-20 defenses and top-50 offenses. The Red Raiders are actually ranked No. 3 nationally by KenPom for adjusted defense, better than the Gators at No. 20.

Can UF — a team mired with inconsistency over the season — overcome an opponent of Tech’s caliber that will have the crowd firmly behind it? I’m leaning towards yes. Florida enters 3-1 against the spread in its last four games, while Texas Tech is 0-7-1 in its last eight. If you give UF a break for its speed bump in the SEC Tournament, they’ve demolished four of their last five opponents — including tournament teams Auburn, Alabama and Kentucky to close the regular season. Meanwhile, the Red Raiders have lost five of their last eight. It won’t be easy, and it may not be fun, but the Gators can squeak this one out straight up. Take the points if you can get it at two with the game likely inching over.

There’s no telling if Florida can be an Elite Eight team again — that’s a difficult ask — but it should move on to the second weekend for the sixth straight time.

2017-18 records: ATS picks 2-1 | O/U picks 2-1

Injuries and absences

Out (3): C John Egbunu (knee), C Isaiah Stokes (knee), F Chase Johnson (illness)

Game notes

» Florida is back in the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season and seventh time in the last nine years, making its 19th overall appearance. UF is 43-16 all-time in The Big Dance, 4-1 under Mike White.
» The Gators have advanced at least to the Elite Eight in each of their last five tournament appearances (2011-14, 2017).
» Florida improved to 14-4 all-time in first-round matchups in the NCAA Tournament (2-0 under White) and enters Saturday 10-3 in the second round (1-0 under White). The Gators have won seven straight Round of 32 games.
» The last time UF was a six-seed, it advanced onto to the Sweet 16 in 1999. Florida is now 7-1 all-time against 11-seeds in the NCAA Tournament. It has never lost to a three-seed like Texas Tech, going 4-0 in such games.
» Saturday will be the first time in 14 consecutive NCAA Tournament games that Florida is not the higher seed.
» The Gators are 2-0 all-time against the Red Raiders, which will be playing five hours from their campus in Dallas.
» Florida was ranked No. 21 on the seed list and is now 3-2 against the bracket. The Gators are also 10-7 against the entire NCAA Tournament field on the season.
» It is the second straight year that UF was in a bracket with No. 1-seed Villanova and Virginia Tech.
» The Gators’ six regular-season wins over AP Top 25 opponents (6-2) was tied for most in the nation at the time. Florida also had the second-most RP quadrant 1 wins (10) in the nation this season.
» Texas Tech earned its first NCAA Tournament win since 2005 on Thursday. It is 9-16 all-time in the event and is 2-3 in its second tournament game regardless of round.

» Florida is 36-2 under White when scoring 80+ points and 33-34 otherwise. The Gators are similarly 48-9 under White when allowing 69 points or fewer, 21-27 otherwise.
» White is the first coach in program history to earn NCAA Tournament berths in two of his first three seasons.
» Senior point guard Chris Chiozza became Florida’s all-time assists leader this season, breaking Erving Walker’s record in the final game of the regular season.

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