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No. 7 Florida vs. No. 10 Virginia Tech preview, picks for first round of 2021 NCAA Tournament

The Florida Gators and Virginia Tech Hokies meet at Hinkle Fieldhouse in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. We’ve got everything you need on both teams ahead of the game here.

Will Gonzaga win the NCAA tournament?

Update March 19: Here are the updated bet splits for No. 7 Florida vs. No. 10 Virginia Tech as of March 19th at 7 a.m. from DraftKings Sportsbook:

Florida -0.5: 43% of action, 50% of bets
Virginia Tech +0.5: 57% of action, 50% of bets

Over 135: 42% of action, 71% of bets
Under 135: 58% of action, 29% of bets


Update March 18: Here are the updated bet splits for No. 7 Florida vs. No. 10 Virginia Tech as of March 18th at 1:30 p.m. from DraftKings Sportsbook:

Florida: -1: 79% of action, 34% of bets
Virginia Tech: +1: 21% of action, 66% of bets

Over 135: 21% of action, 66% of bets
Under 135: 79% of action, 34% of bets


Update March 17: Here are the updated bet splits for Florida vs. Virginia Tech as of March 17th at 11:00 a.m. from DraftKings Sportsbook:

Alabama -0.5: 53% of handle, 45% of bets
Iona +0.5: 47% of handle, 55% of bets
Over: 135: 10% of handle, 59% of bets
Under: 135: 90% of handle, 41% of bets


One of the more intriguing and equally balance matchups of the first round of the NCAA Tournament brings the SEC’s Florida Gators against the Virginia Tech Hokies of the ACC at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Friday, March 19th at 12:15 p.m. on CBS.

Let’s take a look at the matchup and odds from DraftKings Sportsbook.

No. 7 Florida: 14-9 (9-7 SEC): At-large

KenPom rating: 37 Overall, 40 Offense, 37 Defense
NET ranking: 31, (5-5 VS. Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Tre Mann, 16.0 ppg
Key stat: The Gators block a shot on 14.4% of opponent possessions, good for 12th in the nation.

The Gators aren’t exactly the hottest team in the field, having lost three of four including twice to Tennessee to close the season. But they have a quality guard in Mann, and 6’11 Colin Castleton can protect the rim at a level that belies his stats (2.2 blocks per game). The loss of Keyontae Johnson has hurt their development, and they probably wish Andrew Nembhard didn’t transfer to Gonzaga, but they still have plenty of pieces that play well together.

No. 10 Virginia Tech: 15-6 (9-4 ACC): At-large

KenPom rating: 50 Overall, 55 Offense, 54 Defense
NET ranking: 48 (2-3 VS Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Keve Aluma, 15.6 ppg
Key stat: The Hokies are just 2-1 since February 6th due to a pause for COVID-19.

Aluma really makes the Hokies go, and his consistent 15-and-8 every game is huge for a team that can get hot from downtown, but needs to play inside-out basketball to get open perimeter shots. That might be tougher when Castleton is patrolling the paint, and UF will also look to speed them up in transition whenever possible.

If they do get through, look for a big day for senior Justyn Mutts, who is a quality passer out of the post for a team that shares the ball very well in the front court.

March Madness Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Point Spread: Pick ‘em
Point Total: 135
Moneyline: Florida -110, Virginia Tech -108

The Pick

Against The Spread Pick: Florida
Point total pick: Under
Pick to Win: Florida

The Gators have run into tough matchups late in the season, but they still have enough quality pieces to get past a Hokies team that’s still recovering from their pause and has has severely limited practice time. If Mann and Noah Locke can knock down some threes, this could turn into a blowout pretty quickly, while VPI just doesn’t the weapons in a shootout outside of the talented Aluma.

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