Gators favored by 10 vs. Dayton

Published on Sunday, 3/29/14, at 1:22 a.m. Eastern.

By Brian Edwards

MEMPHIS — Florida (35-2 straight up, 18-14-1 against the spread) handed UCLA a pink slip from the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time since 2006 when it beat the Bruins 79-68 on Thursday night at FedEx Forum in Memphis. The Gators advanced to the Elite Eight for the fourth consecutive season and covered the number as 4.5-point favorites. They will take a 29-game winning streak into Saturday’s South Region finals against Dayton.

As of early this morning, most books had UF favored by 10 with a total of 132.5. Bettors can take the Flyers on the money line for a monster payout in the +500 range (risk $100 to win $500). UF is favored by six for first-half bets.

Marshall Henderson was rooting for the Gators in Memphis.

Marshall Henderson was rooting for the Gators in Memphis.

Michael Frazier II led UF past UCLA with a game-high 19 points on 5-of-8 shooting from deep. Frazier knocked down four straight 3-pointers at one point in the second half. Seniors Scottie Wilbekin and Casey Prather added 13 and 12 points, respectively. Reserve freshman point guard Kasey Hill dished out a career-high 10 assists.

UF has won 29 consecutive games and hasn’t tasted defeat since a Dec. 2 loss at UConn on a buzzer beater by Shabazz Napier.

Dayton made it to the South Region finals by winning outright as an underdog over Ohio St., Syracuse and Stanford. The Flyers beat the Cardinal by an 82-72 count as 3.5-point underdogs Thursday night in Memphis.

Archie Miller’s squad has thrived as an underdog, compiling a stellar 10-2 spread record with nine outright victories. This is UD’s richest underdog spot. The Flyers were twice 8.5-point ‘dog in wins over Gonzaga and the ‘Cuse.

UF is 7-7-1 ATS in 15 games as a double-digit favorite.

Tip-off is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. Eastern on TBS.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

–Some offshore shops have posted proposition bets. For instance, the ‘over/under’ for Wilbekin’s points is 13.5 (-110 either way). Frazier’s total for points is 11.5 and I’m bullish on that to go ‘over.’

–Florida’s four seniors now have 12 career NCAA Tournament wins, but they still looking for a first trip to the Final Four.

–Billy Donovan has a 6-1 career record in Sweet 16 games, winning six in a row since Casey Calvary’s last-second putback lifted Gonzaga to a comeback win over UF in the 1999 West Region semifinals in Phoenix.

–In an epic thriller in Indianapolis, Kentucky rallied to beat Louisville 74-69 as a 4.5-point underdog late Friday night. The Wildcats advanced to the Midwest Region finals where they will face Michigan. Things didn’t look early for the ‘Cats, who fell behind 18-5 and then lost Willie Cauley-Stein to an injury. Cauley-Stein has an ankle injury and his chances of playing against the Wolverines aren’t looking good.

–The loss was the first of Pitino’s career in the Sweet 16.

–Michigan blew a double-digit lead in the second half and nearly blew its Midwest Region semifinal showdown vs. Tennessee. But Jordan Morgan took a crucial charge and outplayed UT star Jarnell Stokes in a 73-71 win. Nik Stauskas had a chance to give Michigan backers the spread cover, but he missed a free throw with a few ticks remaining. Jordan McRae played valiantly in defeat, sparking the Vols’ rally by scoring 16 of his 24 points in the second half.

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