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No. 7 Florida vs. No. 10 Virginia Tech preview for NCAA Tournament first-round matchup

The No. 7 Florida Gators and No. 10 Virginia Tech Hokies face off in the first round of the 2021 NCAA tournament. We’ve got an initial preview of what and how to watch following Selection Sunday.

Scottie Lewis #23 of the Florida Gators looks to pass as Santiago Vescovi #25 of the Tennessee Volunteers defends during the second half of their quarterfinal game in the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament at Bridgestone Arena on March 12, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. Tennessee defeats Florida 78-66. Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

The NCAA Tournament begins on Thursday, March 18th with the First Four, and then moves on to the first round on Friday, March 15 and Saturday, March 16. No. 7 seed Florida will face No. 10 seed Virginia Tech in the first round. Game time has yet to be announced but we will update this article with that and game odds as soon as it comes available. For now, we’ve got a preliminary preview of the two teams to get you ready for March Madness!

Once the odds for March Madness 2021 are made available for this game, we’ll add that information below. We’ll also add the game time and TV channel once it’s settled.

Game date: Friday, March 19
Game time: 12:15 p.m. ET
TV channel: CBS
Location: Hinkle Fieldhouse

Odds: Florida -1
Over/Under: 137.5

No. 7 Florida

The Florida Gators have been a difficult team to predict this season, but they appear on the right track heading into the NCAA Tournament. Florida does not jump off the page in individual or team statistics compared to the rest of the field, though the Gators have a 46.4% field goal percentage, which ranks first in the SEC. Florida is led by sophomore guard Tre Mann, who is averaging 14.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists, all of which are team highs.

The Gators are hovering around the top 40 in the latest KenPom ratings as well as adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency. Early in the season, Florida was hit by a scary situation in which Keyontae Johnson collapsed on the court during a game. He has since recovered and will not play the rest of the season. In four games, Johnson averaged 16 points and 4.5 rebounds.

Record: 14-9, 9-7 SEC
KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 39
KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 37
ATS: 10-13
Over Total: 10-12-1
Odds to win NCAA Championship: +7000

No. 10 Virginia Tech

After a solid 2020-21 campaign in a competitive ACC, the Virginia Tech Hokies find themselves going dancing in the NCAA Tournament once again. VT hasn’t been spectacular from a metrics standpoint, ranking 49th in NET rating and 50 in KenPom, but they were consistent enough to go 9-4 in ACC play throughout the regular season before bowing out to North Carolina in the ACC Tournament.

The catalyst to Va. Tech’s success was junior forward Keve Aluma, whose 15.6 points and eight rebounds a game earned him Second-Team All-ACC honors and a few votes for conference player of the year. Aluma has been aided by the likes of Naheim Alleyne and Justyn Mutts all season as well as Tyrece Radford, who was controversially reinstated to the program in February after a DUI and concealed weapon arrest in January.

Record: 15-6, 9-4 ACC
KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 54
KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 54
ATS: 11-10
Over Total: 12-9
Odds to win NCAA Championship: +5000