The Florida Gators (25-8) are the No. 4 seed in the East Region, and will take on the No. 5 seed Virginia Cavaliers (23-10). The game will be played at Amway Center in Orlando at 8:40 p.m. on Saturday.
Preview: Florida took care of business against East Tennessee in the first round despite a shaky first half, dispatching ETSU 80-64. The Gators are led by guard KeVaughn Allen, who averages 13.7 points per game.
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 16, 2017
Virginia rallied from 15 down to get the 76-71 win over UNC Wilmington after leading by only one at halftime. The Cavaliers are led by London Perrantes, who averages 12.9 points and 3.8 assists per game. Unfortunately for the Hoos, they will be without Isaiah Wilkins, who played just five minutes against UNCW. He is out for Saturday’s game with strep throat, and his status for any potential future tournament games is unclear.
Date: Saturday, March 18
Time: 8:40 p.m. E.T.
TV Channel: TNT
Location: Amway Center, Orlando, FL
Announcers: Ian Eagle, Steve Lavin, and Evan Washburn
Opening Betting Line: Florida -1, via OddsShark
According to College Basketball Reference, Florida and Virginia have met twice, with each side winning one game. Both match-ups between the two sides also took place in the post-season. In the 2012 NCAA Tournament, Florida, the 7-seed in the West, beat 10-seed UVA 71-45. Virginia defeated the Gators in the 1992 NIT semifinals 62-56, and went on to win that tournament.
Florida has appeared in the tournament 19 times, and the Gators have advanced to five Final Fours. They have a tournament record of 42-17, and have won two national championships.
Virginia has appeared in the tournament 20 times, and the Cavaliers have advanced to two Final Fours. They have a tournament record of 28-20, and have never won a national championship.
Prediction: I’m taking the Gators in this one. Florida has the length and quickness to stifle Virginia’s half-court offense, and if it can slow down Perrantes, the Cavaliers will once again find themselves in trouble. Unlike the first-round match-up against UNC-Wilmington, a deficit won’t be quite as easy to make up against the Gators. Florida by six.