The Florida Gators can fly up the top 25 rankings with a monster win over the Duke Blue Devils in their next game. The two squads will meet up on December 6 in the 2016 Jimmy V Classic.
If you are a fan of college basketball, or sports in general, then you have likely been enjoying all of the powerhouse matchups that have been going down so far in the 2016-17 season. To get a better idea of that, let’s take a look at the Michigan State Spartans’ schedule. Reminder, this is only one team’s schedule, meaning there have been plenty of other big-time showdowns this season.
The Spartans have already played the Arizona Wildcats (ranked No. 10 at the time), Kentucky Wildcats (ranked No. 2 at the time), Baylor Bears (ranked No. 20 at the time), and Duke (ranked No. 5 at the time).
The theme has apparently been top-25 matchups in 2016-17, and that trend will continue when the No. 24th-ranked Gators take on the No. 5th-ranked Blue Devils.
Before we get to the bold predictions for Florida vs. Duke, let’s take a look at both team’s resumes.
Duke’s toughest tests have come against the Kansas Jayhawks (the lone loss), Rhode Island Rams (ranked No. 21 at the time), and Michigan State. With that in mind, folks must remember that the Blue Devils have been short-handed — to say the least — this season. Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum, and Marques Bolden have yet to play a game. All three are freshmen, and all three could end up going high in the 2017 NBA Draft. Just take ESPN‘s word for it.
“A lot has been written and discussed about how good Duke will be once freshmen Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden are healthy enough to enter the lineup. All three have the talent to potentially be one-and-done players and high NBA draft picks. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said the trio could make Duke “scary good.””
Needless to say, the Blue Devils’ roster is filled with talent, and it remains to be seen how good this team can be in the 2016-17 college basketball season.
Giving the ball to the Gators, their toughest test came against the Gonzaga Bulldogs (ranked No. 11 at the time), a test that resulted in a loss. Florida has also taken on the Miami Hurricanes and Seton Hall Pirates.
Now that the stage has been set for this Jimmy V Classic contest, let’s unleash some bold predictions.
Side note: Before this game, Duke has to take on the Maine Black Bears.
Grayson Allen Drops 30 Points
When it comes to scoring, Grayson Allen is one of the most lethal players in the country. Currently, he is averaging 17.1 points per game. Just last year, he was putting up 21.6 points per game. It remains to be seen what his role will be once Duke is healthy, but for the time being, Allen is going to get his points.
Just in case you were wondering, his season-high in the scoring department is 25 points.
Florida Finds Magic From Behind The Arc, Makes 10 Threes
If the Gators plan on making some noise this season, they need to get better from the three-point line. Currently, they are shooting 31.5 percent from behind the arc as a team, which ranks them at No. 277 in college hoops in that department. Therefore, this prediction has bold written all over it.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way, right?
Blue Devils Win By Five Points Or Less
Considering the Blue Devils entered the season with the No. 1 ranking, this contest could get out of hand in no time.
However, Florida is proving to be an NCAA tournament contender, it has already been tested against Gonzaga, and it is no cupcake.
Look for the Blue Devils to capture the victory, but also look for this game to be rather close.
[Featured Image by Grant Halverson/Getty Images]