The second Final Four battle pits the current betting favorite, UCONN Huskies, against perpetual underdog Miami Hurricanes.
#5 Miami Hurricanes (29-7) vs #4 UCONN Huskies (29-8)
How to Watch:
- DATE: Saturday, April 1st
- TIME: 8:49 p.m. ET
- CHANNEL: CBS
- MONEYLINE: UCONN (-240) MIA (+196)
- SPREAD: UCONN -5.5
- TOTAL: 149
Final Four Tale of the Tape:
|79.6 (27th)||Points Per Game||78.8 (36th)|
|71.9 (236th)||Points Allowed Per Game||64.4 (35th)|
|90th||KenPom Adjusted Tempo||204th|
|5th||KenPom Off Ranking||3rd|
|104th||KenPom DEF Ranking||
|65th||KenPom Strength of Schedule||
- Isiah Wong, G: 16.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 3.2 APG, 1.4 SPG, 38.1% 3PT
- Jordan Miller, G: 15.4 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.3 SPG, 54.9% FG
- Adama Sanogo, C: 17.1 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.3 APG, 60.2% FG
- Jordan Hawkins, G: 16.3 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 1.3 APG, 38.5% 3PT
The UCONN Huskies come into the Final Four as the betting favorite and the hottest team in the tournament. They faced very little resistance in the West Region, beating Iona in the first round, then crushing Saint Mary’s, Arkansas, and Gonzaga to advance to Houston.
The first half against Gonzaga was chaotic and close, but then UCONN dominated Gonzaga in the second half en route to an 82-54 win. They held Gonzaga to just 31% shooting from the floor, which continues a strong tournament where they have held their opponents to just 59.2 points per game and posted an impressive 20+ point differential.
Offensively, the Huskies have been nearly unstoppable en route to the Final Four. They are scoring 81.2 points per game and are cruising from deep, shooting 42.5% from beyond the arc and averaging 10 3pt field goals per game.
Their offense is led by big man Adama Sanoga, who is helping the Huskies to average nearly 40 points per game in the paint. However, this is a team with multiple options, as we saw in the Elite Eight when Jordan Hawkins led the way with 20 points to help the Huskies reach the Final Four.
Yet, they will have their hands full with a Miami Hurricanes team that comes into the Final Four for the first time in school history after making it out of a Midwest Region where they were predicted by many to lose in the first round.
The Hurricanes survived a scare in the first round against Drake but has seen their offense come to life since then, beating Indiana, number-one seed Houston and then second-seeded Texas Longhorns, where Miami overcame a 13-point second-half deficit in a game they seemed sure to lose.
Jordan Miller almost willed his team to victory over Texas, shooting a perfect 7-of-7 from the field and 13-of-13 from the free throw line en route to 27 points.
Since that opening-round game against Drake Miami has shot 48.5% or better in every game and is averaging 81.2 points per game in the tournament overall. They’ve also performed fairly well on defense, which has been a problem area for them during the season. Yet, Miami is holding opponents just over 70 points per game, even though teams are making over eight threes a game, which could be a problem against UCONN.
The Hurricanes have also been dominating on the boards, holding a +15 rebounding edge, thanks to a healthy Norchad Omier, who is averaging nearly 14 rebounds per game in the tournament. The battle between him and Sanogo on the boards could determine this game.
As could the turnover battle. UCONN has a -14 turnover margin entering the Final Four, while Miami is sitting at +6. If UCONN is sloppy, Miami can take advantage. However, I still believe UCONN +5.5 and the OVER are the two best bets in this Final Four showdown.
For NCAA tournament coverage like this Final Four preview, visit amNY Sports
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