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The second 2023 Final Four matchup between the Miami Hurricanes and UConn Huskies tips off 8:49 p.m. ET, Saturday, April 1st at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. UConn won the West Region as a 4-seed and 5-seed Miami took down the Midwest Regional.
This isn’t as big of a long-shot matchup as the first NCAA Tournament semifinal. Miami is 2023 ACC regular-season champions and head coach Jim Larrañaga already did the Cinderella-thing with George Mason’s 2016 Final Four run.
Miami’s route to the Final Four:
- Round of 64: 63-56 win over the 12-seed Drake Bulldogs.
- Round of 32: 85-69 victory vs. the 4-seed Indiana Hoosiers.
- Sweet 16: 89-75 win over the 1-seed Houston Cougars.
- Elite Eight: 88-81 victory vs. the 2-seed Texas Longhorns.
The Huskies opened their season on a 14-0 start, ranking as high as No. 2 in the AP Poll before dropping seven games in Big East play. This is UConn coach Dan Hurley’s first Final Four appearance but the Huskies are going for a fifth national title.
UConn’s path to the Final Four:
- Round of 64: 87-63 win over the 13-seed Iona Gaels.
- Round of 32: 70-55 victory vs. the 5-seed Saint Mary’s Gaels.
- Sweet 16: 88-65 win over the 8-seed Arkansas Razorbacks.
- Elite Eight: 82-54 victory vs. the 3-seed Gonzaga Bulldogs.
OutKick Bets Podcast: Final Four 2023 Betting Bonanza Ft Grayson Weir
Miami vs. UConn Final Four Odds (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Too big of a deal is being made out of UConn’s +22.5 point-per-game and +17.5 against-the-spread (ATS) margins in the NCAA Tournament. Don’t get me wrong, it’s impressive.
However, Gonzaga can’t play defense and UConn had a few strength-on-weakness edges in that matchup. Arkansas is small and can’t shoot. Saint Mary’s was overrated the whole season. Iona is a MAAC team.
Miami went through Big XII champion, Texas, which is the toughest conference in college hoops. And Houston who was ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll for seven weeks during the regular season.
DraftKings Sportsbook is reporting via VSIN that Connecticut is getting more than 60% of the action as of Friday morning. I expect that number to get bigger before tip-off because of UConn’s impressive tourney resume.
The U is stacked with shooters and gets better looks
Both are elite shooting teams: Miami is 14th in true shooting rate and UConn is 31st. Per Haslametrics.com, the U is 50th in average field-goal proximity to the basket and UConn ranks 248th defensively and 252nd offensively in that metric.
Furthermore, the Huskies rely on 3-pointers more so than the Hurricanes. Per Ken Pom, 34.8% of Connecticut’s points come from behind the arc whereas just 28.4% of Miami’s points are from 3.
Miami-UConn is being played in a football stadium and the different sight lines could be a problem for both teams’ outside shooting. Also, the Hurricanes should win the free-throw battle Saturday.
Connecticut ranks 319th nationally out of 363 programs in defensive free-throw attempt rate (FTr), per Ken Pom, and Miami is 15th in free-throw percentage. The U is 18th in defensive FTr and the Huskies are 210th offensively.
Finally, the Hurricanes just find ways to hang around in games. Four of Miami’s seven losses this season are by 1 or 2 points and the U is 9-2 ATS as an underdog with a +6.1 ATS margin.
BET: Hurricanes +5.5 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook
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