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Miami vs. UConn, 8:49 ET
College basketball is down to just this game and the National Championship (the other Final Four game will have already been played by the time this tips off). You could argue this will be the more exciting of the two matchups on the slate for college basketball. It is pretty clear that UConn is the favorite for winning the entire tournament, but thye still need to get past Miami to hoist the ultimate trophy.
Miami has had an interesting NCAA Tournament. I’m not quite sure if it was opening-game jitters or if Drake matched up well against them, but they played to a seven-point victory in the first game. They didn’t look good in that game, but they were able to pull it out. Then they manhandled Indiana in a game that I thought would’ve been more competitive, but the Hoosiers looked awful in the tournament and the Conference tournament. I expected Houston to beat them but ultimately Miami was able to coast to a fairly easy 14-point victory. They also had to get through Texas, one of the better teams in the country, and they were able to pull away late and win that game outright. Now, they are once again dogs against the Huskies. This is a spot they should feel very comfortable. In order for them to win this they need to step up their defensive approach. UConn can score and has coasted through most games. Miami needs to find a way to slow down their offense. Judging on this total, I don’t expect them to be able to stop UConn altogether, but their offense has been very good. If they hit their threes, this game will be close. They look to push the tempo and ultimately they don’t seem to care who scores, they just are trying to find an open shot.
UConn hasn’t even really had to sweat in this tournament. Their average margin of victory in this tournament is 22.5. The first game was a blowout over Iona, something completely expected. Even their 15-point victory over Saint Mary’s was somewhat expected. Then they ran Arkansas out of the gym en route to a 23-point win. Finally, they took down Gonzaga in the last game and limited them to just 54 points. That was somewhat of an obvious play as Gonzaga was coming off of a really intense matchup over UCLA. It reminded me of how they played against Baylor in the National Championship a couple of years ago. Either way, UConn took them down with ease. Will Miami be able to slow down this locomotive that is steamrolling everyone? So far, they have a very balanced approach and their entire team has been playing very well. The Huskies last two losses are by a combined five points, and in those losses it was likely due to free throw or three-point shooting. If Miami, a hot shooting team, can get hot from deep, that’s the only way UConn loses.
I do think it is possible the Huskies could win this game by 10 or more again. But, I think both teams are very good offensive squads and think the best way to play this is the over. At 149, it is getting higher than I like it but don’t see this game going any other way. I’ll take over 149.
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