Florida Gators vs. Xavier Musketeers Pick & Prediction NOVEMBER 24th 2022

Stadium: Lakefront Arena New Orleans
Logo Florida Gators
VS
Logo Xavier Musketeers
0
OPENER
149.5

150.5o -110
CURRENT

-125
MONEYLINE
+105

83
SCORE
90

Xavier coach Sean Miller sees familiarities with the team's last opponent when he scans the scouting report for Thursday's matchup with Florida in the Phil Knight Legacy tournament at Portland, Ore.

After giving up 30 points and six rebounds to Trayce Jackson-Davis in an 81-79 loss to Indiana, the Musketeers (3-1) now must contend with Florida's Colin Castleton. A power up front like Jackson-Davis, Castleton is averaging 25.3 points and 8.8 rebounds a game for the Gators (3-1).

"They do a great job of playing through him," Miller said. "He seems to be involved in almost every offensive possession, maybe a little bit more away from the basket skill-wise than a guy like Jackson-Davis but make no mistake. If you can average 25 points a game through the first three or four games, that's all you need to know."

Castleton was a big force behind Florida's 76-67 comeback win at Florida State in the Gators' last outing, scoring right at his average of 25 points and just missing a double-double with nine rebounds. He accounted for 13 points as the Gators scored 33 of the first 38 points in the second half while rallying from a 17-point halftime deficit.

"That's the luxury of having such a such a great player," first-year Florida coach Todd Golden said. "He might not get enough touches in the first half, but he stays with it and then he delivers."

The Gators also put full-court pressure on the Seminoles to spark the second-half comeback, but don't expect a repeat of that against Xavier.

"We're not a big full-court pressure team," Golden said. "I've never been a full-court pressure coach, but certain games call for certain things."

Xavier should have a healthier Colby Jones available as a ball-handler against any pressure. Jones missed one game with a sprained ankle but played 36 minutes against Indiana, scoring 13 points and handing out six assists against only two turnovers.

"We're probably out of the worst part of it," Miller said of Jones' recovery.

Florida and Xavier are in a bracket with Duke and Oregon State, with Purdue, West Virginia, Portland State, and Gonzaga filling out the PKI field.

--Field Level Media

PREDICTION
Florida Gators
74
76
Xavier Musketeers
PREDICTION
Florida Gators
74
76
Xavier Musketeers

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Florida Gators vs. Xavier Musketeers Recap MAR 20TH 2022

Nate Johnson scored 16 points to spark host Xavier to a 72-56 victory over Florida in a second-round matchup of the National Invitational Tournament on Sunday afternoon in Cincinnati.

Xavier (20-13), a No. 2 seed in its quadrant of the bracket, advanced to the NIT quarterfinal round for the first time since 1999. The Musketeers will take on either No. 4 seed Vanderbilt or No. 1 Dayton either on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Kowacie Reeves led the Gators (20-14) with 14 points. He exited the game with 1:26 remaining after sustaining a cut over his right eye following an on-court collision with a teammate while chasing a loose ball.

Johnson did all of his damage from either beyond the 3-point line (3 for 10) or the foul line (7 for 9). He was one of five Musketeers who scored in double figures along with Jack Nunge, who totaled 12 points, eight rebounds and four assists.

Colby Jones, who finished with 11 points, five assists and four steals, capped the performance by dunking to finish an open drive to the basket in the final minute.

Zach Freemantle and Dwon Odom also had 10 points for Xavier.

After the Gators rallied to tie the game at 33 at halftime, Xavier opened the second half on a 7-0 run and didn't look back. The Musketeers opened a 47-36 advantage after 4:01 of the half. The Gators answered with six consecutive points, but then went cold.

Florida, which made its first NIT appearance since 2016, shot just 32.8 percent (21 of 64) from the field and went 6 for 30 from 3-point range.

Tyree Appleby and Colin Castleton each also had 10 points for Florida.

Xavier's Paul Scruggs went down on a fast break and appeared to injure his left knee. He exited the game with 16:54 left in the second half.

--Field Level Media

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