BANKER (Florida Gators vs. Oklahoma Sooners)
Florida faces Oklahoma in a matchup where we should see some elite level defense. The difference in this one will be the experience and size inside that Florida possesses. Florida is the 11th ranked defense in adjusted efficiency, 23rd in defensive efficiency FG% and 12th in defensive 3P%. Florida really defends at all levels, and they are led by Colin Castleton who is averaging just under 3 blocks per game.
Florida is loaded with experience as their top 6 leading scorers are all seniors. That’s almost unheard of today in college basketball and I think this experience will help them in this matchup as they face an Oklahoma squad who had almost a complete overhaul of their roster. Oklahoma lost their best player from last year, Austin Reaves, to the NBA and their 2nd best player, Alondes Williams, who transferred to wake Forest.
Oklahoma added the Groves brothers from eastern Washington, Ethan Chargois from SMU, and Jordan Goldwire from Duke. We’re used to seeing explosive offense from OU but this year they’ve lacked a true point guard and at times have been very stagnant on offense. This Oklahoma team was losing at halftime to Houston Baptist who is one of the bottom 10 teams in the nation.
Bottom line here is that I think Florida’s athleticism and commitment to the Defensive side of the ball will cause problems for Oklahoma on the offensive end. I also believe Florida’s experience will help them down the stretch in what I expect to be a close game late and think this will put them over the top in this high-profile matchup. Score prediction: Florida: 68-64
Texas Tech lost their coach and lost a lot of their pieces from last year to the transfer portal, but they also got some high-profile transfers of their own. Texas Tech added big man Bryson Williams from Utep who is averaging 15/6/3, talented guard Davion Warren from Hampton who is averaging 13/3/2, and a talented wing scorer in Kevin Obanor from Oral Roberts who is averaging 10/5/1 so Texas Tech retooled nicely with those guys along with returning starters Terrance Shannon Jr and Kevin McCullar.
Texas Tech is number 1 in the country in offensive rebounding percentage, so they really hit the glass to gain extra possessions and 2nd chance opportunities. They’re 22nd in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency, 11th in effective FG% on offense, and 17th in 2P% so they’ve played very well offensively against lesser competition to this point. They face a Providence squad who has solid wins over Wisconsin and Northwestern but really struggled vs a good Defensive team in Virginia only scoring 40 points in that 18-point loss.
Texas Tech is also 18th in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency and 5 in defensive TO% so they force a lot of turnovers leading to easy buckets. I think their defense will force Nate Watson into some tough shots and the production offensively from their transfers should be enough to come away with the win. Score prediction: Texas Tech 77-68
Marshall is a team who wants to get out and run. They are always in the top half of the country in pace and adjusted tempo, and I think if they can control the tempo in this matchup with Akron then they’ll come away with a win. Akron has had a weird season as they opened up with a near upset win over Ohio state and then subsequently lost by 20 and 12 to weak teams in Fordham and Appalachian State. Taevion Kinsey will be the best player on the court for Marshall as he is averaging 20/5/4 on this young season and coupled with the rim protection from Obinna Anochili-Killen (6blocks per game), I think Marshall will be able to come away with the win. Score prediction: Marshall 72-65