College Basketball East Region Sweet 16 Picks: #2 Miami Hurricanes vs #3 Marquette Golden Eagles

2013 NCAA Tournament – East Regional Semifinals
#2 Miami Hurricanes vs #3 Marquette Golden Eagles
Thursday, March 28, 2013, 7:15 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Verizon Center – Washington, DC
Opening Line: Miami -5
Current Line: Miami -5
Opening Total: 127
Current Total: 127
Opening Money Line: Miami -260 / Marquette +220
Current Money Line: Miami -230 / Marquette +190

Miami is a 5 point favorite against Marquette in the east regional semifinals in Washington, DC.
Miami is a 5 point favorite against Marquette in the east regional semifinals in Washington, DC.

The 29-6 Miami Hurricanes are having the best year in the history of the basketball program. Of course the Hurricanes have won national championships in football and baseball, but have never had much success in basketball. The Hurricanes finished 15-3 in the ACC and won the regular season title outright with a 15-3 record . Miami also won the ACC tournament by beating North Carolina 87-77 in the championship game. The Hurricanes were seeded #2 in the East Region and took out #15 seed Pacific 78-49 in the second round. The Hurricanes escaped with a 63-59 win over #7 Illinois in Sunday’s third round in Austin, Texas.

Next up for the Hurricanes are the #3 seeded Marquette Golden Eagles in the East Regional semifinals Thursday in Washington, DC. The winner will face either #1 Indiana or #4 Syracuse for a trip to the Final Four Saturday. The 23-8 Marquette Golden Eagles tied with Georgetown and Louisville at 14-4 for the Big East title. However, the Golden Eagles were upset by Notre Dame in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament. They were still given a #3 seed in the NCAA tournament. Marquette came back from a 49-40 deficit with 6:27 to go against #14 seed Davidson Thursday in the second round. Marquette guard Vander Blue made a driving lay-up with 1.5 seconds left to give the Golden Eagles a 59-58 lead, then stole the in-bounds pass to preserve the win. The loss snapped a 17 game winning streak for Davidson. Marquette also trailed late against #6 Butler in the third round. The Golden Eagles came back to beat Butler 74-72 to advance for the Sweet 16  for the third straight year.

Marquette and Miami played four times from 1986 to 1989, with each team winning two home games. They had  not played each other before and haven’t met since.

Miami is coached by Jim Larranaga. The Hurricanes have losses at Florida Gulf Coast, to Arizona and Indiana St in tournament in Hawaii and at Wake Forest, Duke, and Georgia Tech. Miami has key wins over Detroit, Michigan St, at UMass, Charlotte, at Central Florida, at Hawaii, LaSalle, at Georgia Tech, North Carolina three times, Maryland, Boston College three times, Duke, Florida St twice, Clemson twice, Virginia, at Virginia Tech,  NC State twice and Virginia Tech. Miami is 21-10-1 ATS and the total is 12-17-1 this season.

Miami is outscoring teams 70-60 this season. The Hurricanes are #36 in points allowed nationally. Miami is shooting 45.8% from the field and 36.4% from 3 point range. The Hurricanes make 68.3% of their free throws. Miami averages 35.9 rebounds per game, and give up 29.3. Hurricane opponents are shooting 39.6% from the field and 32.4% from 3 point range. The Hurricanes average 11 assists, 6 steals, 5 blocks, and 11 turnovers.

Guard Shane Larkin averages 14.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 2 steals per game. Guard Durand Scott averages 13.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. Forward/center Kenny Kadji averages 13 points, 6.9 rebounds, an assist, and 1.3 blocks per game. Guard Trey McKinney-Jones averages 9.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game. Center Reggie Johnson averages 6.7 points, 7 rebounds, and 1 block per game. He is out indefinitely after having minor knee surgery this week.  Julian Gamble and Rion Brown each average 6.5 points per game. Garrius Adams has missed the whole season with a knee injury and is out indefinitely. Guard Bishop Daniels left the team in December.

Marquette is coached by Buzz Williams. The Golden Eagles have losses to Butler in the Maui Invitational, at Florida, at Green Bay, at Cincinnati, at Louisville, at Georgetown and Villanova. Marquette has key wins over Mississippi St and USC in Maui, Wisconsin, LSU, UConn, Georgetown, Pitt twice, Seton Hall twice, Providence, South Florida twice, DePaul, Syracuse, Notre Dame, at Rutgers, and at St. John’s. Marquette is undefeated at home this season. The Golden Eagles are 13-15-1 ATS and the total is 16-12 this season.

Marquette is outscoring teams 69-63 this season. The Eagles are shooting 46.1% from the field and 30.3% from 3 point range. Marquette is #46 in field goal percentage. Marquette makes 72.9% of their free throws. The Golden Eagles average 35.2 rebounds per game and give up 27.5 per game. Marquette is #33 in rebounds allowed.  Marquette opponents are shooting 40.6% from the field and 32.5% from 3 point range. The Eagles average 14 assists, 7 steals, 3 blocks, and 14 turnovers.

Guard Vander Blue averages 14.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1 steal per game. Forward Davante Gardner averages 11.3 points, and 4.8 rebounds per game. Forward Jamil Wilson averages 9.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.7 assists. Guard Junior Cadougan averages 8.6 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.1 turnovers.  Trent Lockett averages 7.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game. Todd Mayo averages 5.6 points per game. Chris Otule, Steve Taylor Jr., Juan Anderson, Jake Thomas and and Derrick Wilson also get significant minutes.

Marquette is 0-4 ATS in Thursday games, 0-3-1 after a straight up win, in non-conference games, and against teams with winning records, and 0-4-1 overall.

Miami is 4-1 ATS overall and neutral site games, 22-8 in Thursday games, 19-7-1 after a straight up win, 10-4 after failing to cover, 43-18-1 in non-conference games, and 18-8-1 against teams with winning records.

The loss of Johnson will hurt Miami obviously, but Marquette only has one player over 6’8″ on the roster and that is 6’11” center Otule. Miami has 4 other players 6’10” and over besides Johnson. I like Miami to escape with a close win.

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