2021 NCAA Tournament, Florida vs. Oral Roberts: Picks, predictions, live stream, TV channel, tipoff time

By Adam Silverstein
March 21, 2021
2021 NCAA Tournament, Florida vs. Oral Roberts: Picks, predictions, live stream, TV channel, tipoff time

Image Credit: Michael Nash

The rollercoaster that has been the 2020-21 college basketball season continued for the Florida Gators in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament as a game they looked to have in hand late wound up advancing to overtime. In the end, No. 7 seed Florida triumphed and advanced to the second round for the eighth straight time.

Its prize is the No. 15 seed Oral Roberts Golden Eagles, the ninth team in NCAA Tournament history to upset a No. 2 seed in the first round. It just so happens that the Gators have experience with such Cinderellas. Despite there only being eight prior No. 15 seeds with this recognition, Florida has taken on two of them with a 2-0 mark in those games (2012-13).

The Gators are aiming to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2017 and 12th time in program history. What will go down on Sunday as Florida looks to continue its run in the NCAA Tournament? Let’s find out.

Tale of the tape

(7) Florida Gators(15) Oral Roberts
CoachMike WhitePaul Mills

Projected starting five

PG: Tyree Appleby
G: Tre Mann
G/F: Noah Locke
F: Anthony Duruji
F/C: Colin Castleton

Statistical leaders

PPG: Tre Mann (16.0)
RPG: Colin Castleton (5.9)
APG: Tre Mann (3.4)
SPG: Tyree Appleby (1.5)
BPG: Colin Castleton (2.2)
FG%: Omar Payne (77.1%)
3P%: Noah Locke (40.6%)
FT% (min. 20 attempts): Tre Mann (84.9%)

Viewing information

Date: Sunday, March 20 | Time: 7:45 p.m. ET
Location: Indiana Farmers Coliseum — Indianapolis, Indiana

TV: truTV (Lisa Byington, Steve Smith)
Live stream: March Madness Live | SiriusXM: n/a | Radio: WRUF, TuneIn
Live updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

Game notes

» Florida is 45-18 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
» The Gators have advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in eight straight appearances (2011-14, 2017-19). UF did not play in the event in 2015-16, and the tourney was not held in 2020.
» Florida is looking to move into the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2017 and 12th time in program history. It is 10-5 all-time in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
» White is the first Gators coach to advance to the NCAA Tournament in four of his first five seasons. They are 6-3 in the event under White but have not advanced past the second round since 2017.
» Florida is 2-0 all-time against the Summit League but has never played Oral Roberts.
» The Golden Eagles are the ninth No. 15 seed in NCAA Tournament history to upset a No. 2 seed. The Gators have faced two of those prior eight teams previously, going 2-0 in those games against Norfolk State (2012) and Florida Gulf Coast (2013).
» UF is one of nine teams nationally without a senior on the roster; however, it has four junior transfers on the team this season.
» Florida is 0-6 when scoring 68 points or less this season and 0-8 when shooting worse than 43% from the field.
» The Gators are 11-3 when scoring 70+ points and 15-1 when shooting 44% or better from the field. They are 8-1 when allowing less than 70 points.
» Florida enters 4-1 in neutral-site games this season.

Predictions and analysis

Spread: Florida -8.5 | O/U: 148

There’s no question that Florida gutted out a first-round win against a tough but inconsistent Virginia Tech team, but Oral Roberts presents a whole set of different problems. The Golden Eagles are exceedingly careful with the rock (quite the opposite of the Gators, which average 14 turnovers per game) and steady offensively. Though Oral Roberts struggled shooting against Ohio State in its overtime upset, its top two players combined to score 59 of its 75 points in large part because they combined to go 10 of 22 from beyond the arc.

Florida is certainly not consistent on offense, but it is terrific when it find rhythm and the bottom of the net. It’s difficult to expect the Golden Eagles to get that same level of production from their top two players, and the Gators may have learned some key lessons in their win over the Hokies in regards to their backcourt rotation and need to better defend the perimiter.

Florida is 1-4 ATS in its last five games, 11-12 ATS on the season and 1-4 ATS as a favorite of eight points or more. Oral Roberts is on a six-game winning streak with covers in six of its last seven games. The Gators could certainly cover if the Golden Eagles gets cold or UF successfully limits the underdog’s top scorers, but it’s far more likely that this is a close game as most important Gators contests have been this season. Prediction: Florida 75, Oral Roberts 69

NCAA Tournament picks: 1-0 ATS, 1-0 O/U

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