The first NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 game from the Midwest Region on Friday night features No. 5 Miami, the ACC regular-season champion, against No. 1 Houston, the AAC regular-season champ. The Cougars are solid favorites on the NCAAB odds.
Sweet 16: No. 5 Miami vs. No. 1 Houston | 2023 NCAA Tournament Analysis
How to Bet Miami vs. Houston NCAA Basketball Odds & TV Info
When: Friday, 7:15 PM ET
Where: T-Mobile Center, Kansas City
Opening NCAAB Lines: Houston -7.5 (total 138)
Why Bet on Miami?
The Hurricanes (27-7) were very impressive in an 85-69 rout of No. 4 Indiana to advance. Fifth-seeded Miami, an Elite Eight team a year ago and rated among the top nation’s top scoring squads, unleashed a full-throttle offensive and defensive attack that IU couldn’t contain. Miami dominated in rebounding (48-31), points in the paint (46-28) and second-chance points (29-11).
After falling behind by as many as 13 points in the first half, Indiana gave itself a chance with a 13-0 run to end the first half and start the second. Miami turned it back with a 16-2 run midway through the second half to take control it never lost.
Fourth-year junior guard Isaiah Wong scored a game-high 27 points for the Canes – he was the ACC Player of the Year. Wong’s 27-point performance, good for the co-fourth-most by a Hurricane in the NCAA Tournament, came on a 9-of-17 shooting from the field, including a 4-of-6 mark from deep, along with a perfect 5-of-5 line on free throws. Fifth-year senior guard Jordan Miller amassed 19 points on 9-of-16 shooting, adding five rebounds and two blocks.
Third-year sophomore forward Norchad Omier scored seven points and pulled down a game-high 17 rebounds to break the program’s NCAA Tournament single-game record he set two days prior and post the top total by a Hurricane in any regulation game since November 2018.
After suffering an injury in Miami’s ACC Tournament semifinal loss to Duke, Omier has returned to grab 31 rebounds in the Canes’ two NCAA Tournament games. His presence inside on both ends of the floor will again be key for Miami on Friday. Guard Wooga Poplar has averaged 10.5 points per game in this tournament. He hurt his back against Indiana but is expected to play Friday.
Miami moved to 13-11 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, including 9-5 under Jim Larranaga. This is the first time in program history Miami has reached the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 in consecutive seasons. Three of Miami’s last four NCAA Tournament wins are by at least 14 points, with both Round of 32 victories—each against a higher-seeded team—over the last two seasons by 16-plus points.
The Hurricanes have outplayed their NCAA Tournament seed each of the last two years after previously doing so just once in program history (2000 Sweet 16 as a sixth seed). Larranaga now owns 723 victories in his 39-year career, tying Jerry Slocum for No. 31 on the all-time wins list (min. five years at a Division I school).
An upset Friday would not be the first time that a Larranaga-coached team upsets a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. When he was at George Mason, his team upset the No. 1 UConn in the Elite Eight in 2006.
“Houston’s much more like a mirror image of us size-wise,” Larranaga said. “They’re not overly tall but what they are is thicker. They outweigh us probably at every position except Norchad (Omier). What that means is the physicality of the game is going to be very important.”
Overall, the Canes have won 11 of their last 13 games on the strength of a dynamic offense, averaging 81.3 points per game over that stretch.
Why Bet on Houston?
The Cougars (33-3) rallied past No. 9 Auburn 81-64 to advance as they trailed by 10 at the half. The Cougars’ backcourt trio of Marcus Sasser, Jamal Shead and Tramon Mark, who average 37.3 points between them, sparked the comeback. Mark had a career-high 26 points and Sasser, a first-team All-America selection, had 22 points and hit five three-pointers. Houston improved to 17-1 in road and neutral-site games this season.
Sasser, who has wrestled with a groin injury for the past two weeks, and Shead, who had to play through a knee injury, both said Thursday that they’ll be ready to play against the Hurricanes as a week of rest has helped both players. With Shead and Sasser on the court together this season, Houston has held opponents to just 87 points per 100 possessions.
“I’ve just been doing a good job getting treatment, massages, stretches,” said Sasser, who missed all or parts of three of the past four games for the 1-seeded Cougars. “I’d say I’ll probably be around 90 percent by Friday, so I’ve been getting healthy.”
UH is the second overall seed for a reason – the Cougars have won 15 of their last 16 games, boast five players who average double figures and rank in the nation’s Top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency.
Houston leads the nation in field-goal percentage defense (36.1), scoring margin (+18.3) and winning percentage (91.4) ranks second in scoring defense (56.3) and 3-point field goal percentage defense (27.3), stands among the Top 10 in rebounding margin (+7.3, 7th) and is among the Top 25 in turnover margin (+3.9, 13th), turnovers (10.1, 16th), assist-turnover ratio (1.46, 17th), offensive rebounding (12.7, 17th), rebounding (38.9, 19th) and blocked shots (4.7, 25th).
Houston owns a 9-5 lead against Miami (Fla.) in the series, which began during the 1955-56 season. Friday will be the first meeting since a 99-93 Houston win in Miami on Feb. 20, 1971. It will be the first time UM coach Jim Larranaga has faced Houston coach Kelvin Sampson during their careers.
Houston will want to keep Friday’s game mostly in the half court, while Miami will hope to get opportunities in transition. Neither team is overly big, but Houston is one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country and Miami just grabbed 20 offensive boards against Indiana.
- Hurricanes are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 NCAA Tournament games.
- Hurricanes are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Hurricanes are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games following a ATS win.
- Cougars are 11-5 ATS in their last 16 neutral site games.
- Cougars are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight up win.
Houston 73, Miami 68
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