The Miami Hurricanes defeated the University of Southern California and University of Auburn during the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament, advancing to the Sweet 16.
The Hurricanes are one of four double-digit seeds to make it to the second weekend, where they will head into battle against the #11 Iowa State Cyclones; if their recent form is any indication, they will keep paying their bettors back in buckets.
Miami is currently a -2.5 favorite in the impending clash.
Miami Laughs at the bears
How could anyone not have been bullish on Miami heading into the tournament?
The ‘Canes had not lost by more than four points in their last 10 games leading into March Madness, and they were also 7-3 during that stretch. They played the Duke Blue Devils to an airtight 80-76 result in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament and were all-in on their aggressive perimeter defense that was sure to bother some of the other favorites in the bracket.
Isaiah Wong has been the hero of the tourney for Miami thus far, scoring 22 points in the opening gambit and 21 in the Round of 32 to tame the Tigers, one of the betting favorites to win the national title.
This Hurricanes team might not have much depth, but it has versatility within its starting lineup. Any one of their five openers can take turns dominating the game.
Now, that could spell trouble for Miami in upcoming games, given that their starting five has been burdened with playing almost every minute of action, but they will benefit from the rest during the coming weekdays.
Back to business: Miami dominated Auburn by forcing 10 steals and six blocks en route to its 79-61 win over the Southeastern Conference regular-season champions. They also took 11 fouls to Auburn’s 19 and completely out-hustled them from start to finish.
This is a team to watch— not just for the next round, but for the Final Four.
Miami ML hits again?
Miami’s next matchup against Iowa State could not be better for them. The Cyclones depend on stingy defense and low-scoring affairs to win their games, just as they did in the two opening rounds.
ISU only managed 59 and 54 points in its two tournament wins thus far, but they are meeting a different beast in Miami— for while many teams suffer when forced into playing isolation basketball, that is where the Hurricanes thrive.
Charlie Moore, Kameron McGusty, Wong, and Jordan Miller are all excellent off the bounce and can also knock down open shots if the ball gets swung in their direction.
Miami has also proven it to be an incredibly effective and aggressive defensive outfit and is coming up against a squad that’s offensive identity is throwing the ball to Izaiah Brockington and hoping something good comes of it. The senior guard is only shooting 32.3% from the field in this competition and is there for the taking.
It would not be unfair to say that the Miami moneyline and spread won this blogger a decent amount of dough last weekend, and even now that they are favored for the first time in March Madness, their spread looks as appealing as ever.
The ‘Canes will take on the winner of Kansas and Providence after they undoubtedly win this Friday night