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March Madness Betting Preview — Miami Looks to Reach New Heights vs. Kansas

March Madness Sweet Sixteen 2022

Miami has Caused Havoc This March Madness Can they Keep it Up?

By Charles Jay

The Miami Hurricanes have obviously been known for multiple national championships in the football program. But in basketball, there’s not much history outside of the fact that Rick Barry once played there. However, on Sunday they have the chance to carve out some of their own history as they take on the Kansas Jayhawks for a place in the Final Four, which would be their first ever.  

This game, which will be played at the United Center in Chicago,  starts at 2:20 PM ET, and BetAnySports customers can see it on CBS.

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March Madness Betting — How did Miami get here?

Well, after enduring a rocky start to the season, which included decisive losses to the likes of Dayton and Alabama, the ‘Canes have gathered themselves and become a tough foe for all opponents in the ACC, which might be sending three teams into the Final Four. When they got to the NCAA Tournament, they beat USC, Auburn (by 18 points) and then Iowa State, which wanted to grind them down but instead threw the ball away a lot (18 turnovers).

This is a veteran team, to say the least. All five starters are at least 21 years of age, and since coach Jim Larranaga only gives 17.9% of available minutes to the bench (one of the lowest figures in the nation), that means there will be a load of experience on the floor at almost all times.

There are transfers here; Oklahoma refugee Kameron McGunty averaged 18 points, and he tallied 27 against Iowa State in the 70-56 victory. Guard Charlie Moore was once a Jayhawk; he also played at Cal and DePaul before settling in with Miami. Jordan Miller played at George Mason, which was the school Larranaga led on an unlikely journey to the Final Four in 2006.

This is not a faultless team; they are weak in hitting the offensive boards. They are below average, statistically speaking,when it comes to defense. But they have managed to make up for it in other ways, to say the least.


March Madness Betting — Here are the numbers….

At BetAnySports, the Jayhawks are listed as the favorite:

Kansas Jayhawks -5.5
Miami Hurricanes +5.5

Over 147 Points -110
Under 147 Points -110


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March Madness Betting — How did Kansas get here?

The Jayhawks have gotten a real shot in the arm from Arizona State transfer Remy Martin, who is the kind of guy coming off the bench that Miami doesn’t have. Martin was All-Pac 12 last year, but he stumbled a bit with a knee issue this season. But he has really come alive, with 20 points against Creighton and 23 against Providence.

As it is, Kansas is going to be pretty tough on the offensive boards, so Miami has to find an answer for 6-10 pivot man David McCormack. They shoot almost 54% inside the arc and 35.5% from downtown, and although those figures don’t blow anyone away, they are adequate because of the way the Jayhawks have played on the defensive end.

They have shut teams down on the deep perimeter, allowing just 30% triples. And they have done a good job inside, holding opponents to 37% from two-point range. In the metrics compiled by the folks at the analytics site KenPom, Kansas is sixth in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency and 22nd in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency.

March Madness Betting — And what’s the verdict?

As the season has progressed, Miami has become a somewhat different defensive team because Larranaga has been able to integrate the “Scramble” defensive scheme for which he has become widely known. It’s based on pressing and trapping and creating turnovers on the part of the opposition. Larranaga has stated in the past that sometimes his teams haven’t been able to implement it. But obviously this one can. As a result, Miami has a +4.6 turnover margin per game. They were able to coerce Iowa State into coughing the ball up 18 times on Friday, and in a game where there are going to be a limited number of possessions, that makes a difference.

The Hurricanes are disciplined. They are balanced. And obviously, even though Bill Self is the more well-known coach, Larranaga is a guy who’s been here before. If his guys can maneuver the Jayhawks into positions where they don’t get their best shot, this becomes a good spot for the underdog. So we will take points with Miami, and go “under” on the total.


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