The third and final game of Florida’s early-season trip to Portland, Oregon for the Phil Knight Legacy tournament will begin Sunday at 8:30 p.m. ET. The Gators (4-2) take on the West Virginia Mountaineers (5-1) as both teams battle to a 2-1 draw in the tournament and finish fifth after Thursday’s round one loss.
Below is everything you need to know about the matchup.
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Florida Gators vs. Oregon State Beavers
Where: Chile’s Center, Portland, Ore.
When: Sunday, November 27 at 8:30 p.m. ET
radio: Gators Sports Network from Learfield
opportunities: Florida is a 1.5-point favorite over West Virginia, according to Sports Illustrated Sportsbook. The Over/Under is fixed at 146 points.
history of the series: The Gators are 7-3 all-time against the Mountaineers. In the final matchup, Florida earned an 85-80 win on the road in West Virginia during the SEC/Big 12 Challenge on January 30, 2021.
The Florida Gators are about to exit the Phil Knight Legacy tournament in good shape after a seven-point loss to Xavier in round one. They face the West Virginia Mountaineers for the first time since a classic SEC/Big 12 Challenge match two seasons ago.
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The competition presents a Quadrant I winning opportunity for both teams as they begin to build their NCAA tournament resumes. Each team is tied 0-1 in potential QI encounters this year (Florida vs. Xavier and West Virginia vs. Purdue). Florida earned a high Q-II win over Oregon State on Friday.
The Mountaineers, led by Bob Huggins, the third-greatest coach of all time in college basketball history, are known for the stifling press defensive style they have pursued since 2007.
There’s a reason they’re commonly referred to as “Press Virginia.”
While defensive efforts have been the unit’s calling card, the past few seasons have brought Morgantown, WV, a lull in defensive production with fruitful offense. This season seems to be a healthy balance between the two, as the Mountaineers come into the competition averaging 80.2 points per game and allowing just 63.3.
The Gators will look to continue the surge in two-way productivity they realized for the first time this season against Oregon State when they take on the equally balanced West Virginia roster.
However, the pace of WVU play can pose problems for the UF defense, which earlier in the year struggled to defend in transition. That lack has proven to be a major factor in Florida’s two losses this season.
But West Virginia has proven prone to turning the ball over this season, and did so 19 times against Portland State.
This gives Florida the opportunity to create its own transitional buckets.
You will watch Trey Bonham and Will Richard at both ends of the floor while continuing to produce at a high level Colin Castleton will need to have a comeback game after two quiet games in the tournament. He will oppose it Jimmy Bell Jr. — the team’s lead rebounder — and Tre Mitchell — the Mountaineers’ second-best scorer — with a slight height advantage on each.
The big men duel will greatly influence the competition, but ball security and transition execution will be the game’s deciding factors.
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