NIT Semifinals Betting Picks: #2 Miami Hurricanes vs #1 Temple Owls

2015 NIT Semifinals
#2 Miami Hurricanes vs #1 Temple Owls
Madison Square Garden – New York City, New York

Tuesday, March 31, 2015, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Miami -1
Current Line: Temple -1
Opening Total: 139 1/2
Current Total: 139
Opening Money Line: Temple -120 / Miami +100
Current Money Line: Temple -115 / Miami -105

Temple is a 1 point favorite against Miami in the NIT semifinals.
Temple is a 1 point favorite against Miami in the NIT semifinals.

The 24-12 Miami Hurricanes and 26-10 Temple Owls meet Tuesday in the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden Tuesday night. The winner will play either Old Dominion or Stanford in the Championship game Thursday night. While all four teams were on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament, a trip to the semifinals of the NIT isn’t a bad consolation prize.

Temple leads the series 2-1 against Miami. The Owls won the last meeting in 2005.

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 last Tuesday Miami is making their 11th appearance in the NIT and making their first ever trip to the semifinals.

Temple went 13-5 in the American Athletic Conference and tied for third with Cincinnati. The Owls lost to SMU in the AAC semifinals. Temple was given a #1 seed for the NIT. The Owls beat Bucknell 73-67 in the first round, George Washington 90-77 and Louisiana Tech 77-59 in the quarterfinals last Wednesday. All three games were at home for Temple. The Owls are playing in their 18th NIT, with two titles, the last in 1969. Temple is in the semifinals for the first time since 2002.

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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 16-17-1 ATS and the total is 14-15-2 this season. The Hurricanes were 2.5 point underdogs against Richmond and the total was 133.

Temple is coached by Fran Dunphy. Temple has neutral site losses to Duke and UNLV in Brooklyn, and SMU in the AAC Tournament, road losses at St. Jospeph’s, Villanova, SMU, Tulsa, and Cincinnati, plus home losses to Tulsa and SMU. The Owls have won 7 of the last 8 games. Temple has home wins over  American, Louisiana Tech, Penn, Kansas, Central Florida, South Florida, Tulane, Cincinnati, East Carolina, Houston and Connecticut, neutral site wins over LaSalle at the Palestra and Memphis in the AAC Tournament, along with road wins over Delaware, Connecticut, Tulane, UCF, USF, Memphis, and East Carolina. The Owls are 18-15 ATS and the total is 11-18 this season. Temple was a 4 point favorite against Louisiana Tech and the total was 147.

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 out 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. 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. Guard JaQuan Newton is probable with a thumb injury.

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Temple is outscoring teams 66-61 this season. The Owls are #45 in points allowed nationally. Temple is shooting 39% from the field and 30.9% from 3 point range. The Owls are #308 or worse out of 353 teams in both categories. Temple makes 69.7% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 39.4% from the field and 31.5% from the field. The Owls are #45 or better nationally in both categories. Temple averages 38.1 rebounds per game and opponents average 33.7 per game. The Owls are #24 in rebounding but #321 in rebounds allowed. Temple averages 12.4 points, 9.6 turnovers, 6.9 steals and 4.4 blocks per game. Opponents average 11.4 assists, 12.3 turnovers, 5.1 steals and 3.9 blocks per game.

Will Cummings averages 14.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 1.9 steals per game. Quenton DeCosey averages 12.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. Jesse Morgan averages 12.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Jaylen Bond averages 7.7 points, 8 rebounds 1.4 steals per game. Josh Brown averages  6.3 points, 3 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. Five other players average at least 11 minutes a game in the rotation.

Temple is 11-2 ATS after a straight up win, 9-2 after a cover, 8-2 in Tuesday games, 4-1 in non-conference games, 5-2 overall, and 1-5 in neutral site games.

This will be very tough for Miami to win without Rodriguez one of their leading scorers. I like Temple to win a low scoring game in the 60’s.

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