Texas vs Miami March Madness Betting Preview: Texas Favored Over Surging Miami

Hurricanes Eyeing First Final Four Following Upset of Houston

The Elite Eight concludes Sunday with No. 2 seed Texas vs No. 5 seed Miami from Kansas City, Mo. The winner will be crowned the Midwest Regional champion and advance to the Final Four next weekend. The game will tip off at 5:05 p.m. on CBS.

Texas opened as a 4.5-point favorite and -195 on the moneyline. Miami is +165 on the moneyline. The over/under is 150.

Longhorns logoTexas Longhorns: Big 12 Winner Surging at Right Time

Texas is headed to its first Elite Eight since 2008 and eighth overall after routing No. 3 seed Xavier 83-71. The second-seeded Longhorns rolled into halftime up 42-25 and led wire-to-wire to cover the 4-point spread with ease.

Five players scored in double figures, led by Timmy Allen with 19 points. Marcus Carr and Christian Bishop contributed 18 points apiece and Sir’Jabari Rice scored 16.

The Longhorns did most of their work without forward Dylan Disu. The breakout star of Texas’ NCAA Tournament run aggravated a bone bruise in his left foot early in the first half and was taken to the locker room. He later returned to the bench wearing a protective boot.

Texas has now won seven straight games, including a Big 12 Conference Tournament title, and is 9-2 since Feb. 18. At 29-8 overall, the Longhorns need two more victories to match the school’s single-season wins record, set in 2007-08.

In their last trip to the Elite Eight in 2008, the Longhorns were a No. 2 seed and lost to Memphis, 85-66. They made the Final Four in 1943, 1947 and 2003 but have never won a national championship. Their NCAAB odds of ending that drought are now down to +350, second-lowest on the board behind UConn at +325.

Hurricanes logoMiami Hurricanes: Back-to-back Elite Eights for ACC champs

Miami is returning to the Elite Eight for the second consecutive year under coach Jim Larranaga after knocking off No. 1 seed Houston 89-75. The fifth-seeded Hurricanes, a 6.5-point underdog, opened a 42-36 halftime lead before blowing it open late. The 89 points scored were easily the most allowed this season by Houston, the country’s second-ranked defense (56.6 points allowed per game).

Houston’s loss, coupled with San Diego State’s 71-64 upset of Alabama, means this will be the first time since seeding began in 1979 that a No. 1 seed failed to reach the Elite Eight. Following the win, Miami’s national championship odds skyrocketed from +5000 to +800. They’re now back up to +1100.

Kansas State transfer Nigel Pack poured in 26 points on 7-of-10 from 3-point range. Isaiah Wong contributed 20 points and Norchad Omier added 12 points and 13 rebounds for his 16th double-double of the season. The Hurricanes shot 11-of-25 from long range overall. Coming into the game, Houston had held opponents to just 27.4% shooting on such attempts.

Miami is now 12-2 since Jan. 31 and 28-7 overall. With one more victory, the Hurricanes will tie their single-season record for wins in a season, set in 2012-13. The program’s only other Elite Eight appearance came last season, when it was a No. 10 seed and lost to eventual national champion Kansas, 76-50.

Handicapping The Game

After surviving a scare in the first round against No. 12 seed Drake, Miami has strung together emphatic wins over Indiana and Houston, one of the most popular March Madness picks. The Hurricanes are now on the doorstep of the final Final Four. To get there, they will need to get past Texas, which blitzed Big East runner-up Xavier.

The Longhorns may have dominated, but the win came at a cost. Disu played only 1 minute, 34 seconds before aggravating a bone bruise in his left foot, and his availability for Sunday’s regional final is unknown. The 6-foot-9 senior had become one of the stars of the Big Dance, averaging a team-high 22.5 points and 10 rebounds through the first two rounds. Earlier this month, he was the Most Outstanding Player of the conference tournament.

Texas obviously didn’t miss his length against Xavier. With help off the bench from Bishop, the Longhorns shot 52.5%, including 7-of-12 from 3-point range, and held Xavier star Jack Nunge in check. Now, they’ll get another test in the 6-7 Omier, who has double-doubles in five of his last eight games.

The Longhorns are led by Rodney Terry, the first interim coach to take his team to the Elite Eight since Michigan’s Steve Fisher in 1989. Rodney, the former associate head coach, took over in December when Chris Beard was arrested on domestic violence charges. Beard was suspended and later fired by Texas. He was recently named the head coach at Mississippi.

Texas vs Miami should feature plenty of scoring. Both teams are ranked top 15 in adjusted offensive efficiency, per KenPom, and have combined to average 157.3 points, 7.3 over the current total.

Texas is 8-2 against the spread over its last 10 games and 19-18 overall, which may come in handy for your college basketball picks and parlays. Meanwhile Miami has gone 21-14 ATS. Expect Texas vs Miami to be close.

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