Florida basketball is fresh off of a dominant win over Pitt on Wednesday night, which advanced them to the final of the Novavax NIT Season Tip-Off.
Beating a solid Pitt team was a good feat, but the Gators have an even bigger challenge tomorrow night when they play the No. 13 Baylor Bears.
Florida isn’t looking at this game as a tough challenge that they have to deal with. It’s an opportunity to announce to the whole country that they’ve arrived.
With a win over the Bears on Friday night in Brooklyn, the Gators can make a huge statement to the nation.
Florida basketball: This could mean a lot down the road
These early season tournaments provide teams with a chance to play high-level competition and see where their squad measures up. It also gives them a chance to add an impressive win to their resume that would do them favors down the road in March.
Taking down a top 15 Baylor team that figures to be in contention for the Big 12 Championship all season would be huge for Florida to have under their belt. It would make up for their missed opportunity against Virginia.
On paper, these two teams look pretty even so far. Baylor has scored four more points per game and allowed one less, but the Gators have averaged four more rebounds and three more assists.
This game should be strength-on-strength between two teams that know how important this win would be.
ESPN Analytics thinks it will be well-contested, giving Baylor a slight edge with a 58.4% chance to win. There are no betting lines for this yet, but it should be around Baylor -5.
Even if you don’t have a dog in the fight, this should be a fun game to watch, and one that means a lot to both teams.