NIT Championship Betting Picks: #2 Stanford Cardinal vs #2 Miami Hurricanes

2015 NIT Championship Game
#2 Stanford Cardinal vs #2 Miami Hurricanes

Madison Square Garden – New York City, New York
Thursday, April 2, 2015, 9:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Stanford -1 1/2
Current Line: Stanford -2
Opening Total: 137
Current Total: 135 1/2
Opening Money Line: Stanford -119 / Miami -101
Current Money Line: Stanford -135 / Miami +115

Stanford is a 2 point favorite over Miami in the NIT Championship Thursday in New York.
Stanford is a 2 point favorite over Miami in the NIT Championship Thursday in New York.

The 23-13 Stanford Cardinal and 25-12 Miami Hurricanes meet in the Championship game of the 2015 National Invitation Tournament Thursday in Madison Square Garden. The series between Stanford and Miami is tied 1-1 but they haven’t played since 1989.

Stanford went 9-9 in the Pac 12 and finished tied for fifth with Arizona. Stanford lost to Utah in the Pac 12 quarterfinals. The Cardinal were given a #2 seed in the NIT. Stanford beat UC-Davis 77-64 in the first round and Rhode Island 74-65 in the second round, both at home. Stanford beat Vanderbilt 78-75 in the quarterfinals also at home. The Cardinal beat Old Dominion 67-60 in the semifinals Tuesday. Stanford is playing in their 8th NIT and won it in 1991 and 2012.

Miami went 10-8 in the ACC and tied for sixth with North Carolina State. After losing to Notre Dame in the ACC quarterfinals Miami was not awarded an NCAA Tournament bid, and had to settle for being a #2 seed in the NIT. Miami beat North Carolina Central 75-71 in the first round and Alabama 73-66 in the second round. Both games were played at home for Miami in Coral Gables. The Hurricanes won at Richmond 63-61 in the quarterfinals. Miami beat Temple 60-57 in the semifinals Tuesday. Miami is making their 11th appearance in the NIT and had never made it past the quarters before this year.

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Stanford is coached by Johnny Dawkins. The Cardinal have road losses at DePaul, BYU, UCLA, Washington State, Utah, Colorado, Arizona State and Arizona, plus neutral site losses to Duke in Brooklyn and Utah in the Pac 12 Tournament, and home losses to Arizona, UCLA and Oregon. The Cardinal have home wins over Delaware, Denver, Loyola Marymount, Washington State, Washington, Connecticut, Arizona State, USC, California and Oregon State. Stanford also has neutral site wins over UNLV in Brooklyn and Washington in the Pac 12 Tournament, plus road wins at Texas, USC, California and Washington. The Cardinal are 16-19-1 ATS and the total is 17-18-1 this season. Stanford was a 3.5 point favorite against Old Dominion  and the total was 133.5.

Miami is coached by Jim Larranaga. The Hurricanes have home losses to Green Bay, Eastern Kentucky, Virginia, Georgia Tech, Louisville and North Carolina, neutral site losses to Providence in Brooklyn and Notre Dame in the ACC Tournament, along with road losses to Notre Dame, Florida State, Wake Forest and Louisville. Miami has won 6 of the last 7 games. The Hurricanes have home wins over South Alabama, Illinois, College of Charleston, Boston College, NC State, Clemson, Virginia Tech, and Florida State,  neutral site wins over Drexel, Akron and Charlotte in a tournament in Charleston, SC, and Virginia Tech in the ACC Tournament, plus road wins over Florida, Charlotte, Duke, Syracuse, Boston College, Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech. Miami is 17-17-1 ATS and the total is 14-16-2 this season. The Hurricanes were 1 point favorites against Temple and the total was 138.5.

Stanford is outscoring teams 73-67 this season. Stanford is #53 nationally in scoring. The Cardinal are shooting 43.5% from the field including 38% from 3 point range. The Cardinal are #48 nationally in 3 point shooting. Stanford makes 72.4% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 42.8% from the field and 37.7% from 3 point range. Stanford averages 36.7 rebounds per game and opponents average 29.1. The Cardinal average 12.9 assists, 10.5 turnovers, 5.9 steals and 3.1 blocks per game. Opponents average 12.2 assists, 12 turnovers, 4.3 steals and 3.3 blocks per game.

Guard Chasson Randle averages 20.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Anthony Brown averages 15.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists. Stefan Nastic averages 13.8 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.2 blocks per game. Rosco Allen averages 8.8 points, 5 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game. Reid Travis averages 6.7 points, 6 assists and 1.1 steals per game.  Center Grant Verhoeven is questionable with a hip injury. Michael Humphrey is also questionable with an ankle injury.

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Miami is outscoring teams 69-63 this season. The Hurricanes are shooting 43.5% from the field and 36.5% from 3 point range. Miami makes 74.4% of their free throws and are #24 nationally. Opponents are shooting 42.8% from the field and 33.5% from 3 point range. The Hurricanes average 33.9 rebounds per game and opponents average 29.9 per game. Miami averages 13.7 assists, 10.4 turnovers, 5.8 steals and 3.3 blocks per game. Opponents average 11.8 assists, 11.5 turnovers, 5.3 steals and 3.3 blocks per game.

Guard Sheldon McClellan averages 14.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2 assists and and 1 steal per game. Angel Rodriguez averages 11.9 points, 2.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. He is doubtful with a wrist injury. Manu Lecomte averages 8.4 points, 1.4 rebounds, and 1.9 assists. He is probable with a knee injury. Tonye Jekiri averages 8.7 points, 10.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.5 blocks per game. He is out with a concussion. Davon Reed averages 8 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists.  Deandre Burnett averages 7.2 points, and 2.1 rebounds. Five other players average at least 11 minutes a game in the rotation.

Stanford is 7-1 ATS in non-conference games, 5-11 overall, 10-26 in Thursday games, and 0-4 against ACC teams.

Miami is 4-1 ATS in non-conference games, and 1-5-1 in Thursday games.

Stanford is a little banged up but their injuries are to role players. Miami has key injuries to Rodriguez and Jekiri two of their best players. I think it will be close but I like the Cardinal to win their third NIT Championship.

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