In the South Region, we head into nighttime action for the NCAA Tournament with the No.3 seed Miami Hurricanes taking on potentially tricky foe in the Buffalo Bulls, the MAC’s lone rep the past two years.
After having a fine season, Miami has dropped off some of late in losing two of three and not covering the spread in any contest, with the defense not doing the job in permitting those opponents to collectively shoot over 51 percent. If the Hurricanes expect to win this contest or any others in this tourney, they will have to get back closer to season numbers of 43 percent field goal percentage defense.
After putting together small groups of wins and losses, Buffalo got it right at the correct time and upset Akron 64-61 as five-point championship game underdogs.
This matchup is scheduled for 6:50 ET tip on TNT Thursday and the NCAA basketball odds have the Canes as 13.5-point favorite with total of 148.5. Do the Bulls have any shot for upset?
SU and ATS Records - 20-14, 17-13-2 ATS
Away Record -10-9 and 11-7-1 ATS
Underdog Record - 6-11 and 7-9-1 ATS
3 or More Days Rest - 10-6 and 6-7-1 ATS
Off a SU Win - 11-8 SU and 9-9-1 ATS
SU and ATS Record - 25-7, 18-13 ATS
Away Record - 10-6 and 7-9 ATS
Favorite Record - 22-4 and 16-10 ATS
3 or More Days Rest - 14-3 and 9-7 ATS
Off a SU Loss - 5-1 SU and 2-4 ATS
Though this is NCAA tournament game, this at least by definition is the easiest opponent Miami is facing since taking on Georgia Tech on Feb.7th. The Hurricanes depend on senior guards in Sheldon McClellan (15.8 PPG) and Angel Rodriguez (11.7 PPG and 4.4 APG). This experienced tandem also makes sure their team limits its mistakes and Miami commits just 10.6 turnovers per game. If veteran guard play matters, the Canes are in great hands.
The potential difference-maker in any Miami outcome is arguably the best six-man in the country in Ja’Quan Newton (11.1 PPG), who can be instant offense or setting up others. The offense average 75.6 PPG and also leans on center Tonyw Jekiri to clean missed shots and protect the paint as coach Jim Larranaga’s last line of defense.
Buffalo’s defense allows 75.9 PPG, which give the appearance of being high, but because they play at faster pace than say Miami, they give more points largely due to more possessions, for and against, with the field goal percentage defense very similar to their opponents at 43.2%.