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NCAA Tournament: Miami Hurricanes vs. Houston Cougars Betting Preview

Sweet 16 action continues Friday, and the Midwest Region features a strong matchup between the No. 5 Miami Hurricanes (27-7) and the No. 1 Houston Cougars (33-3). This game will be played at the T-Mobile Center, with tipoff scheduled for 7:15 pm ET.

The Cougars come into this one as heavy favorites. They are -315 to win, while the Hurricanes’ moneyline sits at +250. The spread features Miami as 7.5-point underdogs (-115), and the over/under for total points is set at 138.5.

Miami Looking For Massive Upset

While the Hurricanes are the underdog in this matchup, they certainly didn’t play like it in the first two rounds.

With wins over No. 12 Drake (63-56) and No. 4 Indiana (85-69), the Hurricanes are now looking to punch their ticket to the Elite Eight with a massive upset over the region’s top-ranked team in the Houston Cougars.

In last Sunday’s win over Indiana, Isaiah Wong had a huge game, going for a game-high 27 points to go along with eight rebounds. Jordan Miller was also strong in the victory with 19 points, while Norchad Omier added 17 rebounds.

As a team, Miami ranks 19th in the nation in scoring, averaging 79.1 points per game. In 34 games, Wong (16.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists), Miller (15.1 points, 6.2 rebounds), Omier (13.4 points, 10.1 rebounds), and Nijel Pack (13.4 points, 2.8 rebounds) have all been major contributors.

On the defensive end, Miami falls to 208th overall, allowing opponents an average of 71.6 points per game.

Cougars Look To Take Next Step In Pursuit Of Championship

After spending much of the season towards the top of the polls, the Houston Cougars have had just one goal in mind: win a national championship. On Friday, they will look to take the next step by beating Miami to get into the Elite Eight.

To get to this point in the tournament, the Cougars took down No. 16 Northern Kentucky (63-52) and No. 9 Auburn (81-64). In the win over Auburn, Tramon Mark, and Marcus Sasser combined for 48 points, while Jamal Shead added another 10.

The Cougars’ offense have five players averaging double digits this year, led by Sasser’s 16.9 points per game on 44.1% shooting. As a unit, the Cougars rank 79th overall, averaging 74.9 points per game.

For as good as the Cougars are offensively, they are even better on defense. On the year, Houston ranks second in the nation in scoring defense, allowing opponents just 56.6 points per game (although they have allowed 63.7 per game over their last three).

Take Miami And The Points

This should be an interesting matchup between these two teams. On paper, Houston is the far better team, but Miami is scrappy and can find ways to put up points in bunches.

At the end of the day, this is likely going to be a game that Houston wins, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see Miami keep it close throughout.

After all, the Hurricanes are 11-2 in their last 13 games, and they are 7-1 against the spread in their last eight games as underdogs.

For that reason, take Miami and the 7.5 points (-115) in this one.

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