Will inconsistent Gators match Ospreys?

Will inconsistent Gators match Ospreys?

Which Florida squad will show up in tonight’s first-round NIT duel with North Florida?

The oddsmakers at online sports book Bovada.lv advise you to lean toward the Gators’ best version of themselves. UF enters the 9 p.m. ET contest as an 8.5-point favorite – even though Gainesville’s finest lost five of seven down the stretch.

Following Florida basically amounts to riding a roller coaster, but the Ospreys invite thrill-seekers in their own way. North Florida averages 84.8 points per game and shoots 48.6 percent as a group. Dallas Moore leads the charge, having scored 20-plus in 17 affairs.

Defense presents a different story altogether. The Atlantic Sun’s regular-season champion permits a horrendous 79.6 points per tilt, “good” for 323rd in the country. Conference foes such as Jacksonville, Lipscomb, Kennesaw State and Stetson all hung 80 or more on the Ospreys at one juncture or another.

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Then again, who knows what to expect from the Gators? They barely convert 64 percent of free-throw attempts and clearly miss a healthy John Egbunu in the middle. (The senior center continues to wrestle with a torn thumb ligament that he sustained prior to last Thursday’s bout vs. Arkansas.)

One final quirk to this affair: No. 7 seed North Florida boasts the home-court advantage. Matthew Driscoll’s troops will compete for 40 minutes, but at the absurd pace suggested by the over/under total of 162 points? Perhaps not so much.

TUESDAY NCAA FREE PICK: FLORIDA/NORTH FLORIDA UNDER 162 POINTS

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