Loyola-Chicago at Florida -16.5 O/U 151
After running up and down the floor and hanging 100+ three out of its four games, Florida finds itself losers of two straight. The main culprit was defense as Duke and Florida State netted 1.13 and 1.12 points per possession, respectively. And despite winning, Florida's two opponents prior to that, Stanford and Gonzaga, also posted 1.1 ppp or more. Not having John Egbunu patrolling the paint hurts, but he missed time last year and the Gators still finished fifth in the country in defensive efficiency. The bottom line is Florida fell in love with trying to outscore foes and head coach Mike White was quick to call them on it.
“You guys have heard me use the word soft with this team,” White said late Monday night. “And we use the word with our team every day and it reared its ugly head tonight. Tonight was the epitome of soft.”
Ironically, nearly the exact same thing occurred last season when the Gators dropped two straight to both Duke and Florida State. The key however was they were able to fire back in a big way the next time out with an 87-46 win over Charlotte.
Tonight's opponent, Loyola-Chicago, offers a good chance for a strong defensive showing. The Ramblers have posted some solid offensive numbers but a closer look shows they have been feasting on the weak with an opponents' offensive and defensive strength of schedule below 300. In their lone step-up-in-class, they were manhandled at Boise State, 87-53. Note too that under Porter Moser, Loyola has ranked in the bottom quarter nationally in pace. It's doubtful they'll want to trade baskets in this environment. Number creeping down but still a little value to look under the total.