Hogs to run wild vs. Gators?
A key injury in the post suddenly puts the Gators in a tight spot entering their 1 p.m. ET battle with the Razorbacks in Nashville.
According to online sports book BetDSI, Florida (18-13) opened as a 2.5-point favorite in the SEC tournament’s second-round opener. The biggest reason prompting such a minimal edge: center John Egbunu’s iffy status. UF’s most efficient scorer (11.5 points on 56.1 percent shooting) tore ligaments on his right hand in Tuesday’s practice and has been outfitted with a brace.
While Egbunu received medical clearance to gut it out, head coach Mike White probably can’t afford to essentially run with four players on offense. Rangy forward Dorian Finey-Smith (15.0 points, 8.2 rebounds) must therefore assume even more responsibility vs. the Razorbacks.
Mike Anderson’s team enters the action having won four of five. Last weekend’s 76-61 home defeat to South Carolina wasn’t pretty, but Arkansas (16-15) still cans a conference-best 40.2 percent of its three-pointers. When the Hogs’ guard tandem of Dusty Hannahs and Anthlon Bell gets hot, few opponents stand a chance.
The Gators’ sketchy D doesn’t exactly aid their prospects of bucking the trend. Florida permitted at least 87 points in three of its final five contests. The Razorbacks enjoy the obvious advantage here, and Egbunu’s likely absence only widens the gap.
THURSDAY NCAA FREE PICK: ARKANSAS +2.5