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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 14:00 PM

Saturday's Tip Sheet

Editor's Note: Brian Edwards is on a 29-18-2 run (61.7%, +9.2 Units!) in college hoops since Dec. 8. Even better, Brian's guaranteed plays are on a 12-6 roll (66.7%, +5.2 Units!) since Dec. 10, so don't miss out on his pay-if-it-wins-only selection for tonight!

Tennessee at Florida

-- Tennessee (13-1 straight up, 7-5-1 against the spread) has been to 21 NCAA Tournaments in the history of men’s basketball program, advancing to the Sweet 16 seven times and to the Elite Eight only once. If the Volunteers are going to get to their first Final Four in school history, this season could be the year. Rick Barnes’s third team in Knoxville has ripped off nine consecutive victories since tasting its only defeat of the season, an 87-81 overtime loss to Kansas in which UT led nearly the entire second half.

-- Tennessee is deep, experienced and good at both ends of the floor. The Vols are ranked 10th in the nation in scoring with its 86.4 points-per-game average. They are ranked fourth in FG percentage (51.4%) and 53rd in free-throw percentage (74.2%). At the other end, UT is ranked sixth in the country in FG percentage defense, forcing foes to shoot at a dismal 37.3 percent clip. UT is 22nd at defending the 3-point line (28.6%) and 42nd in scoring ‘D’ (65.0 PPG).

-- On my Games Galore 59 podcast recorded Wednesday night, UT insider and radio personality Tony Basilio (TonyBasilio.com and Twitter handle: @TonyBasilio) had this to say about the Vols: “They’re old-school and I know that sounds cliché but it’s so true. They play for each other, they play hard and nobody complains about their roles. Grant Williams, SEC Player of the Year last season, he had only four points [Tuesday] at Missouri and they win by 24 on the road. They do all the little things, get after you on defense, make the extra pass, box out at all times and dive for loose balls. I just love this team. There’s not one Top-100 player, not one 5-star and not one even close, but they’ve all developed and can play with anybody.”

-- Tennessee fell behind by nine midway through the first half Tuesday night at Missouri, only to go on a 32-12 run to go into intermission with a 42-31 advantage. The Tigers never got closer than 10 the rest of the way and that was early in the second half. The Vols coasted to an 87-63 victory as eight-point road favorites. Jordan Bowden led the way with 20 points, while Jordan Bone contributed 17 points, five rebounds and five assists without a turnover. UT enjoyed a 36-24 advantage on the boards thanks to Kyle Alexander’s 14 points, 17 rebounds and three blocked shots. Admiral Schofield added 16 points, nine rebounds, four assists and a pair of steals.

-- Williams, the junior power forward from Charlotte, is averaging 18.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists (with a 54/27 assist-to-turnover ratio), 1.6 blocked shots and 1.1 steals per game. All of those numbers are up from last year when he garnered SEC Player of the Year honors. Williams is shooting at career-best clips from the field (57.1%), 3-point range (40.0%) and the free-throw line (80.2%).

-- Admiral Schofield is averaging 18.0 points and 6.2 RPG and is draining 51.8 percent of his FGAs and 44.9 percent of his launches from downtown. Bone (14.2 PPG) has a stellar 88/24 assist-to-turnover ratio, while Alexander (10.6 PPG, 8.1 RPG) paces the Vols in blocked shots (27) and FG percentage (69.0%).

-- UT is No. 5 at KenPom.com, going 5-1 against six opponents ranked in K-Pom’s Top 100. The Vols own neutral-court scalps over Louisville (92-81) and Gonzaga (76-73), in addition to home wins over Ga. Tech (66-53) and Georgia (96-50) and the road win at Mizzou.

-- Florida (9-5 SU, 7-7 ATS) is No. 21 at K-Pom, producing a 3-4 record against K-Pom Top 100 foes. The Gators have a home win over Butler, a road triumph at Arkansas and a neutral-court victory over West Virginia. They’ve lost neutral-court games to Butler and Oklahoma, home games vs. South Carolina and Michigan State and dropped their season opener at Florida State.

-- Mike White’s squad has won six of its past eight games since a disastrous showing at the Battle 4 Atlantis. Both L’s came at home vs. Michigan State (63-59) and South Carolina (71-69). UF bounced back from its gut-wrenching defeat against the Gamecocks by going into Fayetteville on Wednesday and emerging with a 57-51 win. The Gators cashed tickets as two-point road favorites at Bud Walton Arena. Senior guard KeVaughn Allen, a product of North Little Rock High School, led the winners with 18 points and five rebounds. Noah Locke was also in double figures with 10 points and five boards.

-- Allen leads UF in scoring (10.9 PPG) and steals (1.6 SPG). His scoring average – which is a career-low average for Allen -- reflects how abysmal the Gators have been offensively. They’re ranked No. 279 (out of 351 D-1 teams) in scoring (66.9 PPG), FG percentage (43.1%), No. 180 in 3-point accuracy (34.1%) and No. 278 in FT percentage (66.3%).

-- The reason for optimism in Gainesville is the expectation that Keith Stone and Jalen Hudson will eventually get it going offensively. What’s been surprising – even more so than the shooting/scoring struggles of Hudson and Stone – is how salty UF has been at the defensive end. The Gators are ranked eighth nationally in scoring ‘D’ (60.0 PPG), 24th in FG percentage (39.0%) and 36th at defending the 3-point line (29.6%).

-- Senior center Kevarrius Hayes, who along with Allen are the last remaining recruits from Billy Donovan’s dynastic tenure at UF, is averaging team-highs in rebounding (5.9 RPG), blocked shots (2.0 BPG) and FG percentage (68.5%).

-- Hudson sat out the 2016-17 campaign after transferring from Va. Tech. He led UF in scoring with his 15.5 PPG average last year, draining 78 treys and 40.4 percent of his shots from beyond the arc. Hudson then declared early for the NBA Draft but didn’t sign with an agent. Although most seemed to think Hudson was going to stay in the Draft, he opted to return for his senior season. His goal was to up his draft stock by improving at the defensive end and helping the Gators make a deeper push in the NCAA Tournament after losing a heartbreaker to Texas Tech in the Round of 32 last year. Unfortunately for Hudson and UF, that’s not going so well. He has mostly come off the bench in the last month and hasn’t been given more than 23 minutes of playing time in the last 10 games. Hudson is averaging merely 6.9 points, 3.0 rebounds and 0.8 APG. He’s made only 30.3 percent of his FGAs, 23.6 percent of his 3-pointers and 59.4 percent of his FTAs. Yikes!

-- On the bright side, Florida is getting extremely solid play from a pair of freshmen guards in Locke and Andrew Nembhard. Locke (10.0 PPG) is the team’s second-leading scorer who has buried 42.4 percent of his 3-pointers. Nembhard (7.4 PPG, 37.8 percentage from 3-point land) has an 80/27 assist-to-turnover ratio and 18 steals.

-- UT is 2-0 both SU and ATS on the road, while UF is 5-2 SU and 3-4 ATS at home.

-- Since the SEC removed the East and West Divisions from basketball, these bitter rivals have only faced each other once per season for the last four years. The home team has won and covered the spread in all four of those meetings. The ‘over’ is 3-1 in those four recent encounters. Going back further, the Gators are 5-2 ATS in the past seven games against the Vols. UT won a 62-57 decision as a four-point home ‘chalk’ last year. Williams was the catalyst with 23 points and six rebounds and Schofield added 16 points, eight boards and three assists. Hudson and Stone had 13 and 11 points, respectively, in the losing effort.

-- The ‘under’ is 10-4 overall for the Gators, but they’ve seen the ‘over’ go 4-3 in their home outings.

-- The ‘over’ is 7-6-1 overall for UT, 2-0 in its road assignments.

-- Tip-off is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.

Gonzaga at San Francisco

-- Gonzaga (15-2 SU, 13-4 ATS) and San Francisco are atop the WCC standings with 2-0 records. The eight other teams in the league have at least one loss. The WCC is usually a top-heavy league with Saint Mary’s serving as Gonzaga’s chief competitor along with BYC since its entry into the conference earlier this decade. However, Saint Mary’s and BYU have 10-7 and 10-8 records, respectively, this year. It’s San Francisco, Loyola-Marymount and San Diego looking – at least at this extremely early stage – like they may serve as the next-best WCC teams.

-- Mark Few’s team is 1-1 both SU and ATS in a pair of road assignments. The Bulldogs lost 103-90 at North Carolina as 3.5-point underdogs and won 103-92 at Creighton as 6.5-point ‘chalk.’

-- Gonzaga is second in the nation in scoring with its 92.0 points-per-game average. The Bulldogs are tops in the country in FG percentage, making 52.7 percent of their FGAs. They’re 34th in FT percentage (75.4%).

-- Gonzaga junior forward Brandon Clarke, a transfer from San Jose State, is the team’s second-leading scorer (16.6 PPG) and paces the Bulldogs in rebounding (8.1 RPG), FG percentage (69.3%), steals (1.6 SPG) and blocked shots (3.4 BPG).

-- Gonzaga junior forward Rui Hachimura is averaging a team-best 20.8 PPG and is pulling down 6.0 RPG. He is hitting 59.7 percent of his FGAs and 45.0 percent of his 3-pointers. Zach Norvell Jr., a sophomore guard out of Chicago, is averaging 15.9 points, 4.5 RPG and has a 59/24 assist-to-turnover ratio. Senior guard Josh Perkins (10.6 PPG) has a 117/35 assist-to-turnover ratio, 26 steals, a 40.0 percentage from 3-point range and has buried 90.3 percent of his FTAs.

-- Gonzaga is ranked fourth in the country at K-Pom, producing a 5-2 record against the Top 100. Few’s club has wins by double-digit margins at home vs. Texas A&M, on a neutral court vs. Arizona and at Creighton. The Bulldogs also have a home win over Washington and beat Duke (#1 K-Pom!) in the finals of the Maui Classic.

-- San Francisco (14-2 SU, 8-5-2 ATS) is undefeated in nine home games with a 4-3 spread record.

-- San Francisco has posted back-to-back 20-wins seasons for the first time since the 1980s under head coach Kyle Smith, who has taken the Dons to the CBI in both of his years at the helm and has higher hopes this season. Smith is 56-32 since taking over.

-- San Francisco is No. 45 at K-Pom, posting a 2-1 record against Top-100 opponents. The Dons have home wins over Harvard and Saint Mary’s. They lost 85-81 to Buffalo (#18 K-Pom) on a neutral court and dropped a 73-71 decision at UC Santa Barbara. They’re 2-0 against Pac-12 competition, winning 79-60 at California and 74-65 at home vs. Stanford.

-- San Francisco third-year sophomore Charles Minlend was a 2017 WCC All-Freshman selection but missed last season with a shoulder injury. Minlend is thriving in his return to the court, averaging a team-best 15.4 PPG. He’s also pulling down 5.4 RPG and 1.0 SPG. Frankie Ferrari is the team’s second-leading scorer (13.3 PPG) who has a 91/25 assist-to-turnover ratio. Ferrari leads the Dons in steals (26) and FT percentage (85.5%). Senior center Matt McCarthy (10.1 PPG) leads the Dons in rebounding (6.9 RPG) and FG percentage (66.3%).

-- San Francisco is ranked 15th in the country in scoring defense (61.2 PPG) and at defending the 3-point line (28.1%). The Dons are ranked 23rd in the nation in FG percentage ‘D’ (39.0%).

-- The ‘under’ has cashed in six straight games for Gonzaga and is 8-1 in its past nine outings. The ‘under’ is 9-8 overall for the Bulldogs, but the ‘over’ is 2-0 in their road contests.

-- The ‘under’ is 8-7 overall for the Dons, but they’ve seen the ‘over’ go 3-1 in their past four games and 5-3 in their home outings.

-- The ‘over’ is on an 8-2 run in the last 10 meetings of this rivalry.

-- When Gonzaga came to the Bay Area last year, it won 75-65 but the Dons took the cash as 13.5-point home underdogs. The teams would meet twice more with Gonzaga winning 82-73 but failing to cover as an 18.5-point home ‘chalk.’ At the WCC Tournament, the Bulldogs blasted San Francisco by an 88-60 count as 13-point favorites.

-- ESPN2 will provide television coverage at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets

-- With Houston falling in controversial fashion at Temple, Virginia and Michigan are the only unbeaten teams remaining in college basketball.

-- Lots of elite teams are on the road this weekend and potentially on upset alert: Duke at FSU (2:00 p.m. Eastern, ESPN), UVA at Clemson (noon, ACCNET),  Kansas at Baylor (4:00, ESPN), Texas Tech at Texas (2:00, Longhorn Network), Nevada at Fresno State (8:00, ESPNU) and Michigan State at Penn State (Sunday - 4:30, CBS).

-- Washington State star forward Robert Franks will miss his third straight game Saturday at Utah due to a hip injury. Franks averages 22.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.9 APG. Without Franks in their last two contests, the Cougars have lost 85-67 at Washington and 92-60 at Colorado.

-- California guard Paris Austin (ankle) is listed as ‘questionable’ for Saturday’s home game vs. Arizona. The Golden Bears, who are 5-10 both SU and ATS, are mired in a 2-8 ATS slide. Austin has missed back-to-back games that were both non-covers in defeats at UCLA (98-83) and vs. Arizona State (80-66). Austin, who averaged 12.3 PPG for Boise State as a sophomore before sitting out last year via transfer rules, is averaging team-highs in both scoring (14.1 PPG) and assists (5.2 APG).

-- Iowa forward Tyler Cook has been upgraded ‘probable’ (knee) for Saturday’s game against Ohio State. Cook averages 17.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.7 APG.

-- UT-Martin is 1-11 ATS.

-- Rutgers will be without Eugene Omoruyi (knee) for Saturday’s game against Minnesota. Omoruyi averages 14.6 points and 7.5 RPG.

Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.

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