Both Oregon State and Florida enter day two of the Phil Knight Invitational fresh-off losses, Oregon State was able to take Duke to the wire yesterday, and the Gators lost to Xavier. We’ll break down this losers' bracket game along with giving out a pick for the action.
The Florida Gators are currently 3-2 on the season and have not looked like a team that can compete at the top of the SEC, at least early in the season. The Gators were able to beat a struggling Florida State team and some inferior opponents but also lost to Florida Atlantic in a buy game. In yesterday's seven-point loss to Xavier, leading scorer Colin Castleton was only able to score 11 points on 5 for 14 from the field.
Castleton is averaging 22.4 points per game and is the focal point of this Gators offense. Will Richard has also been off to a nice start this season averaging 14.8 ppg but a big problem for the Gators has been their defense.
Florida is letting up an average of 71.2 points per game and let up 90 yesterday to Xavier. The Gators rank 181st in the country in forcing turnovers and their opponents have had a 69.9% defensive rebounding percentage.
Oregon State has been the opposite this season as they only allow 62.4 ppg on defense and have held opponents to 34.7% field goal percentage which is top 10 in the country. Jordan Pope leads the way for this team on both sides of the floor averaging 1.8 steals per game and 15.2 points per game.
This Beavers team was able to hold Duke to 54 points yesterday in their three-point loss but their shooting struggles have cost them in some winnable games early this season. We’ll see if this team can limit Colin Castleton enough to stay in the game.
The Florida Gators are currently -14.5 point favorites and with the way they have played recently I think this number is a bit too high so my play for this game is backing the underdog Oregon State. The Gators have failed to cover double-digit spreads twice this season and I think today will be the same result.
Offensively the Gators rely on three guys to do a bulk of their scoring but Castleton is the primary guy, it’s hard to cover a number like this when one guy does a majority of your scoring. The Beavers did a good job yesterday against Duke limiting their primary scorer just enough while shutting down all the other scoring threats they had. If Oregon State comes out with the same game plan I think they can hang around in this game.
The leading scorer for the Beavers Jordan Pope had his worst shooting game of the season yesterday and they still hung in the game so if Pope and Dexter Akanno have better shooting performances today then I think Oregon State can cover this number.