Vanderbilt Commodores vs. Florida Gators Pick & Prediction MARCH 9th 2024

Florida is assured of at least the sixth seed in next week’s Southeastern Conference tournament and has an outside chance at moving up in the 14-team field as it goes into Saturday afternoon’s matchup with Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn.

A lot of chaos would have to ensue among the top five teams during the final weekend of the regular season, but crazier things have happened, and the unranked Gators (21-9, 11-6 SEC) are playing well these days.

Florida has gone 6-2 since starting February with a one-point loss at Texas A&M, and it’s coming off an impressive 105-87 win over Alabama, which is one of four teams tied at 12-5 in conference play behind regular-season champion Tennessee.

Will Richard tied his season high with 23 points in the win over the Crimson Tide, and Walter Clayton Jr. added 22. Zyon Pullin and Tyrese Samuel scored 19 each, with Samuel making four steals, and Alex Condon chipped in 10 points off the bench.

During their recent run, the Gators knocked off Vanderbilt 77-64 in Gainesville, Fla., but Florida coach Todd Golden points to what happened when the teams last met in Nashville.

On Feb. 25, 2023, the Commodores stunned the Gators 88-72, going 10-of-24 from 3-point range. Vanderbilt swept the season series.

“I think we’ve still got to do a great job defending the 3-point line,” Golden said. “That’s the way they ran away from us last year, getting good 3s and knocking them down.”

That Commodores team, however, went on to win 22 games and finish in a tie for fourth in the conference. This season’s Commodores (8-22, 3-14) are mired in 13th place in the league ahead of only Missouri, which is winless in the SEC.

“Everybody knows it’s not the year that we wanted,” coach Jerry Stackhouse said on postgame radio (via The Tennessean) after Wednesday’s 93-77 loss at Kentucky. “We had much better, higher expectations for the season.”

–Field Level Media

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