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Gators at Tide in NCAA Hoops Action on Thursday

gatorseagles2-wrThe #6 ranked Florida Gators will visit the Alabama Crimson Tide on Thursday night in college hoops action. Whenever the Gators play the Tide it is an interesting match-up because of the two coaches. If you remember, after winning back-to-back national championships in 2006 and 2007, Florida coach Billy Donovan agreed to become the head coach of the Orlando Magic. Then as Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley was on a plane headed to Richmond, Va to hire then VCU Rams coach Anthony Grant, Donovan called and said he had changed his mind. A year later, Grant became the head coach of the Tide.

In 2010, the Tide played the Gators late in the season with the regular season SEC Championship at stake. The Gators won that contest to claim the title. Since then they have been to three straight Elite Eights and have won two SEC Championships while the Tide has been a bubble team for the NCAA Tournament, sometimes getting in, sometimes having to settle for the NIT. Do you suppose Gator fans are glad Billy Donovan changed his mind? Do you suppose Donovan watched the whole Magic/Dwight Howard train wreck and was glad himself?

Donovan is well on his way to becoming one of those iconic coaches such as Dean Smith, Adolph Rupp, Mike Krzyzewski, or Bob Knight. If he stays at UF for the duration of his career, he will put up numbers at the school similar to those of the aforementioned legends. Of course nobody will ever put up the numbers that John Wooden put up at UCLA.

Donovan’s Gators appear to be well on their way to a fourth straight Elite Eight trip. They are 15-2 and 4-0 in the SEC. They also did not get there by playing a weak schedule. With four senior starters in Patric Young, Wil Yeguete, Casey Prather and Scottie Wilbekin and some young talent such as Kasey Hill and Michael Frazier, this team could very well be cutting nets down a few times this season.

But Alabama is always a tough road venue, especially on nationally televised prime time games. So can Trevor Releford and the Tide keep it close tonight? We think so.

Bovada has the odds on tonight’s Florida Alabama game. The Gators are -5.5 -115 and the Tide is +5.5 -105 ATS. Moneyline is Florida -220 and Alabama +180. Over/under is 123 with over -115 and under -105.

We like the Tide to beat the spread. So take Alabama +5.5 -105. We also like Florida to win the game so take the gators -220. Also bet the under -105 as these two normally play a game that resembles football when they get together. There will be room for weaklings in the paint tonight in Tuscaloosa.

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