Florida Gators vs Iona Gaels in NIT Tournament

Matchup: Florida Gators (19-13) vs Iona Gaels (25-7)
Time: Wednesday, March 16, 9:00pm EST
Channel: ESPN2
Venue: Exatech Arena at the Stephen O’Connell Center (The O’Dome)
Betting Odds: Gators -6.5, O/U 143

Florida Gators vs Iona Gaels Analysis

Analytical Analysis

Almost every analytical measure would indicate that Florida should win this one rather easily. Florida is the higher rated team according to NET Ranking, T-Rank, Massey Rating, and Massey Composite Ranking, while Iona is higher rated in RPI and in KenPom’s Luck Rating.

Iona is slightly more efficient shooting, having a 0.3% higher true shooting percentage and a 0.8% higher effective field goal percentage than Florida. Iona has a higher pace than Florida with about 4 extra possessions a game. The Gators shoot a higher free throw percentage and averages less turnovers.

Florida has a 3.8 higher adjusted offensive efficiency according to KenPom. They also have a 1.4 lower adjusted defensive efficiency according to KenPom.

Iona takes a higher percentage of shots at the rim, which while being the most efficient shot, they shoot at a lower percentage than Florida. The Gators shoot a much higher percentage of their shots from three. Overall, however, Iona has a better shot distribution with 79.7% of their shots coming either at the rim or from three, compared to 77.9% for the Gators.

A major cause for concern for the Gaels is their allowed shot distribution by opponents. The Gaels allow for 45.2% of their opponents shots to occur at the rim and 33% of opponents shots from three. Florida, on the other hand, only allows their opponents to take 38.6% of their shots at the rim and 32.8% of their shots from 3. Florida has had opponents shoot much better against them from all spots. Iona does block a higher percentage of shots at the rim, 16.4% as compared to 14.8%.

Analysis

On an individual player level, Colin Castleton is easily the best player in this game. He will have a tough match-up against Iona’s sophomore forward Nelly Junior Joseph, who is a good defender and is second on the team in points with 12.9 points per game. Additionally, he leads the team in both blocks and steals, as well as offensive and defensive rebounds. The Gators must look to contain Tyson Jolly, the leading scorer and a high-level three-point shooter.

The Gators will need to rely on the rest of the team given Castleton’s tough match-up. Florida will rely on their guards to get to the rim, since Iona gives up a large portion of their shots at the rim. Tyree Appleby will be instrumental in their victory due to his passing.

Niels Lane will be another major factor for the Gators. Florida is 14-5 when Lane plays. His defense will be crucial in slowing down Tyson Jolly.

In Florida’s first game under interim coach Al Pinkins since former head coach Mike White left for Georgia, don’t expect much to change. Pinkins has been under White since 2018, and is also known for coaching front-court players, which is already a heavy focus of the Gators this season. Pinkins should also not pose a significant drop-off and should keep much of the synergy within the team intact.

Florida Gators Team Stats

Points Per Game: 70.8
Opponent PPG: 66.1
Scoring Margin: +4.7
Field Goal Percentage: 42.8%
Opponent FG%: 43.9%
3-PT Percentage: 30.7%
Opponent 3PT%: 32.7%
Free Throws Per Game: 19.59
Free Throw Percentage: 73.5%
Opponent FT%: 70.1%
Rebounds Per Game: 33.5
Opponent RPG: 34.7
Rebound Margin: -1.2
Assists Per Game: 12.8
Opponent APG: 14.5
Turnovers Per Game: 12.3
Opponent TPG: 14.5
Assist to Turnover Ratio: 1.0
Opponent ATR: 0.8
Points off Turnovers: 17.8
Opponent Points off Turnovers: 13.5
Stocks (Steals + Blocks): 13.3

Florida Gators Advanced Stats

KenPom
KenPom Ranking: 56
Adjusted Efficiency Margin: +13.29
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 111.4
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 98.1
Adjusted Tempo (possessions per 40 minutes): 64.9
Luck Rating: -0.026
Strength of Schedule: +7.61
Hoop Math
True Shooting Percentage: 53.8%
Effective Field Goal Percentage: 49.9%
Percentage of Shots at the Rim: 31.8%
FG% at Rim: 63.5%
Percentage of Shots from 3: 46.1%
Opponent Percentage of Shots at the Rim: 38.6%
Opponent FG% at Rim: 59%
Percent of Shots at Rim Blocked: 14.8%
Opponent Unblocked Shots at Rim FG%: 69.2%
Opponent Percentage of Shots from 2 (non-rim shots): 28.5%
Opponent FG% from 2 (non-rim shots): 36.2%
Percent of Shots from 2 (non-rim shots) blocked: 8.1%
Opponent Unblocked Shots from 2 (non-rim shots) FG%: 39.4%
Opponent Percentage of Shots from 3: 32.8%
Opponent 3PT%: 32.7%
Percent of Shots from 3 blocked: 2.2%
Opponent Unblocked Shots from 3 FG%: 33.5%
Advanced Stats
NET Ranking: 59
RPI: 94
T-Rank: 48
T-Rank Power Rating: 0.8207
Massey Rating: 49
Massey Composite Ranking: 54

Florida Gators Individual Leaders

Colin Castleton against Tennessee. Florida vs Iona
Colin Castleton against Tennessee in 2021. Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images
Points Per Game: Colin Castleton, 16.3 PPG
Field Goal Percentage: Jason Jitobah, 63.3%
3PT Percentage: CJ Felder, 38.9%
Free Throw Percentage: Tyree Appleby, 84.9%
Offensive Rebounds: Colin Castleton, 3.1 ORPG
Defensive Rebounds: Colin Castleton, 5.9 DRPG
Assists: Tyree Appleby, 3.7 APG
Steals: Phlandrous Fleming Jr, 1.4 SPG
Blocks: Colin Castleton, 2.4 BPG

Iona Gaels Team Stats

Rick Pitino Florida vs Iona
Rick Pitino coaching Iona. Photo Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Points Per Game: 75.3
Opponents PPG: 68.3
Scoring Margin: +7.0
Field Goal Percentage: 44.6%
Opponent FG%: 41.4%
3PT Percentage: 33.3%
Opponent 3PT%: 30.3%
Free Throws Per Game: 22.16
Free Throw Percentage: 69.7%
Opponent FT%: 70.5%
Rebounds Per Game: 37.0
Opponent RPG: 35.1
Rebound Margin: 1.9
Assists Per Game: 16.2
Opponent APG: 11.5
Turnovers Per Game: 12.6
Opponent TPG: 13.4
Assist to Turnover Ratio: 1.3
Opponent ATR: 0.9
Points off Turnover: 14.3
Opponent Points off Turnover: 13.2
Stocks (Steals plus Blocks): 12.7

Iona Gaels Advanced Stats

KenPom
KenPom Ranking: 94
Adjusted Efficiency Margin: +8.19
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 107.6
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 99.5
Adjusted Tempo (possessions per 40 minutes): 68.9
Luck Rating: +0.003
Strength of Schedule: -1.88
Hoop Math
True Shooting Percentage: 54.1%
Effective Field Goal Percentage: 50.7%
Percentage of Shots at the Rim: 43.5%
FG% at Rim: 60.2%
Percentage of Shots from 3: 36.2%
Opponent Percentage of Shots at the Rim: 45.2%
Opponent FG% at Rim: 51.4%
Percent of Shots at Rim Blocked: 16.4%
Unblocked Shots at RIM FG%: 61.5%
Opponent Percentage of Shots from 2 (non-rim shots): 21.8%
Opponent FG% from 2 (non-rim shots): 37.6%
Percent of Shots from 2 (non-rim shots) blocked: 8.4%
Opponent Unblocked Shots from 2 (non-rim shots) FG%: 41%
Opponent Percentage of Shots from 3: 33%
Opponent 3PT%: 30.3%
Percent of Shots from 3 blocked: 1.9%
Opponent Unblocked Shots from 3 FG%: 30.9%
Advanced Stats
NET Ranking: 90
RPI: 33
T-Rank: 99
T-Rank Power Rating: 0.6975
Massey Rating: 105
Massey Composite Ranking: 83

Iona Gaels Individual Leaders

Nelly Junior Joseph Florida vs Iona
Nelly Junior Joseph. Photo Credit: icgaels.com
Points Per Game: Tyson Jolly, 14.6
Field Goal Percentage: Trey James, 62.5%
3PT Percentage: Tyson Jolly, 38.3% (two players weren’t considered due to lack of attempts)
Free Throw Percentage: Quinn Slazinski, 82.9%
Offensive Rebounds: Nelly Junior Joseph, 3.19 ORPG
Defensive Rebounds: Nelly Junior Joseph, 4.93 DRPG
Assists: Dylan van Eyck, 3.06 APG
Steals: Nelly Junior Joseph, 1.09 SPG
Blocks: Nelly Junior Joseph, 1.94 BPG

Gators vs Iona Predictions

Florida should win this one rather easily. They are definitively the better team, and the matchup is not bad. While Iona has players to give Castleton issues, overall they don’t have great size which should allow for Florida to utilize their guards more. Florida should be able to easily win their first round matchup.

Gators 78
Iona 66

Gators vs Iona Betting Predictions

Florida -6.5
Over 143

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