The third and final game of Florida's early-season trip to Portland, Ore., for the Phil Knight Legacy tournament is set to tip-off at 8:30 p.m. E.T. on Sunday. The Gators (4-2) will take on the West Virginia Mountaineers (5-1) as both teams vie to go 2-1 in the tournament and claim fifth-place after losing in round one on Thursday.
You can find everything you need to know about the matchup below.
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Florida Gators vs. West Virginia Mountaineers
Where: Chiles Center, Portland, Ore.
When: Sunday, Nov. 27 at 8:30 p.m. E.T.
Radio: Gators Sports Network from Learfield
Odds: Florida is a 1.5-point favorite over West Virginia, according to the Sports Illustrated Sportsbook. The over/under is set at 146 points.
Series history: The Gators are 7-3 all-time against the Mountaineers. In the last matchup, Florida earned an 85-80 victory on the road at West Virginia during the SEC/Big 12 Challenge on Jan. 30, 2021.
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The Florida Gators are on the cusp of leaving the Phil Knight Legacy tournament in good standing after a seven-point loss to Xavier in round one. They face off against the West Virginia Mountaineers for the first time since a classic SEC/Big 12 Challenge matchup two seasons ago.
The contest represents a Quadrant-I win opportunity for both squads as they start to build their resume toward the NCAA Tournament. Each team is 0-1 in Q-I potential matchups this year (Florida vs. Xavier and West Virginia vs. Purdue). Florida earned a high Q-II victory over Oregon State on Friday.
The Mountaineers, led by the third all-time winningest coach in college basketball history in Bob Huggins, are known for the suffocating press defensive style they've operated since 2007.
There's a reason they're commonly referred to as "Press Virginia."
However, while the defensive efforts have been the unit's calling card, the past few seasons have brought a lull in defensive production with fruitful offense to Morgantown, W.V. This season looks to be a healthy balance of each as the Mountaineers come into the contest averaging 80.2 points per game and allowing just 63.3.
The Gators will look to continue the surge in two-way productiveness they realized against Oregon State for the first time this season as they take on the equally balanced West Virginia squad.
Although, the pace of the WVU play can present issues for the U.F. defense, which has struggled to defend in transition in the early stretch of the year. That deficiency has proved to be a major factor in both of Florida's losses this season.
But, West Virginia has proven susceptible to turning the ball over this season, doing so 19 times against Portland State.
That gives Florida the opportunity to create transition buckets of its own.
They will look to Trey Bonham and Will Richard to continue producing at a high level on both ends of the floor, while Colin Castleton will need to have a bounce-back game after two quiet outings in the tournament. He will face off against Jimmy Bell Jr. — the team's leading rebounder — and Tre Mitchell — the Mountaineers' second-leading scorer.
The duel of big men will heavily impact the contest, but ball security and execution in transition will be the deciding factors of the game.
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