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Looking Towards the Rest of the Season

I've decided to try and predict the rest of the Gators basketball team's regular season games. Included is the prediction from Ken Pomeroy as well as his percentage of win probability.

Feb. 21 vs. South Carolina
Pomeroy's Prediction: W 78-56 (98%)

The Gators thrashed the Gamecocks earlier this season in Columbia, using a barrage of three-point shots (9-14 from beyond the arc) and overall good shooting from the field (64% for the game) to beat SC 84-50.  They outscored the Gamecocks 43-17 in the second half to move to 3-0 in the conference.

Seeing what the Gators did to them in Columbia spells doom for the Gamecocks tomorrow night, as a Florida team trying to rebound from their lone conference loss.  At some point the Gators will have to return to their relatively dominating ways over conference opponents, and Tomorrow night will more than likely be the night.

They'll be ready to forget Saturday's loss Tomorrow night as I think they beat the Gamecocks by at least 20 points.  I would be extremely surprised to see the Gamecocks come out alive in Gainesville.

My prediction (with Gators' win probability): W 88-65 (95%)

Feb. 24 @ Louisiana State
Pomeroy's Prediction: W 67-61 (76%)

LSU has been a gigantic disappointment, not only in the conference, but the nation.  They are coming off a season in which they made the Final Four, but have not found a way to get out of the SEC West cellar this season.  They are currently 3-9 in-conference with their wins coming over Arkansas, Ole Miss and Auburn.  All 3 of these wins came in Baton Rouge.

Despite their disappointments this season, they still return Glen Davis -- one of the SEC's best players.  We may not see him against the Gators, though, as an injury is keeping him out of the mid-week game against Kentucky, and may extend to Saturday.  This season he is averaging 18.1 points and 10.5 boards per game.

This will be the Gators first game back on the road after visiting Vanderbilt.  I think that they learned a lot during the game in Nashville (at least I hope so), and will have what it takes to take out LSU in this one.  As the Commodores taught us, though, a team that shoots a high percentage in their home building is nearly impossible to beat.  That could happen on Saturday.

My prediction: W 75-68 (70%)

Feb. 27 @ Tennessee
Pomeroy's Prediction: W 81-73 (77%)

This is the toughest game remaining on the slate, as the Volunteers will have their star Chris Lofton this go-around.  Lofton, who missed the first matchup between the two teams in Gainesville, is averaging 20.4 points per game.

The Vols are currently 6-6 in conference, and 18-9 overall.  They could be fighting for seeding in the NCAA tournament come the 27th, and thus will put up quite a fight against their SEC East rivals.  And this, combined with the fact that the Gators have never fared too well in Knoxville, is why I'm so worried about this matchup.

The Vols are a proud team -- a team that beat the Gators twice last regular season -- and will be ready to take out the top team in the conference come the 27th.  The Vols can score points, as they did in the second half of game #1 when they scored 54 on the Gators defense.  Add Lofton and his ability to create, and all of a sudden you have a very worhty opponent on your hands.

My prediction: L 76-72 (35%)

Mar. 4 vs. Kentucky
Pomeroy's Prediction: W 74-64 (85%)

Ah, the Wildcats, a team in which the Gators have beaten five straight times, including two in a row at home.  These two teams met in Rupp Arena a couple Saturdays ago, as the Gators came out with a narrow 3 point win (which looked very close despite the Gators leading the whole game).

I would like to say that the Gators should cruise in this one, but I don't think that will be the case. This will be the last regular season game for the Wildcats, who will more than likely be playing to show what they're made of one last time before the tournaments start.  Combining that sense of pride with them wanting to prove that the close score earlier in the season was no fluke, I think that Gators may have their hands full in this one.

If Kentucky can shoot the ball better than they did in Lexington (they were awful from the 3-point line), they could put up quite a challenge -- especially if they play their patented Wildcats perimeter defense.

I just think that the home crowd and a fired-up Gators squad will too much for the Cats in this one.

My prediction: W 80-70 (80%)

So, that gives the Gators a 3-1 record in their last four games, and a 14-2 SEC record.  They will have a 27-4 record overall, which should be very much good enough for a one-seed in the NCAA tourney.