Free Pick Breakdown, Odds & Prediction: #5 Miami vs. #2 Texas (3/26/2023) - Taking Vegas

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Free Pick Breakdown, Odds & Prediction: #5 Miami vs. #2 Texas (3/26/2023)

By TakingVegas Staff Writer
March 26, 2023

#5 Miami Hurricanes vs #2 Texas Longhorns (3/26 @ 5:05 PM EST)

Spread: Texas -4
Moneyline: Miami +150 / Texas -180
Total: 149.5

Overview and Betting Info

The #5 Miami Hurricanes (28-7) will take on the #2 Texas Longhorns (29-8) on Sunday in the NCAA Tournament’s Midwest Region Elite 8. Miami won the ACC regular season title, while Texas finished second in the Big 12 and won their conference tournament. These teams did not meet during this season.

Miami is 21-14 against the spread this season but have covered just three of their last seven games. They went over the total 16 times including in three of their last five games.

Texas is 19-18 versus the spread and have covered eight of their last ten games. They’ve gone over the total 17 times but have been under in eight of their last ten games.

#5 Miami Hurricanes

After struggling to beat Drake in the opening round, Miami easily beat #4 Indiana and #1 Houston. They’ve done so thanks to the return of Norchad Omier, who picked up an injury in the ACC tournament and was questionable to play during the NCAA Tournament. He has dominated on the boards and given Miami a boost on defense. Their offense has been nearly unstoppable, even against a great Houston defense. They’ve been on absolute fire, averaging 79 points scored and 66.7 points allowed. The Canes struggled on defense most of the season, but their recent improvement makes them a genuine threat to win a National Championship.

The Canes were one of the best teams in the country on offense, ranking twenty-first in the nation in scoring (79.4 PPG) and sixteenth in field goal percentage (48.2%). They also led the ACC in three-point shooting (37.0%), ranked third in assists (14.6 APG), and ninth in turnovers (11.3 TO/G). The defense has struggled, ranked tenth in the conference in opponent scoring (71.7 PPG), tenth in field goal percentage (44.5%), seventh in three-point percentage (33.4%), sixth in rebounds (35.1 RPG), third in steals (7.3 SPG), and tenth in blocks (3.2 BPG). Turnovers have been an issue all season, with a differential of -1.2 (13th in the ACC).

Miami is led by Isaiah Wong (16.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.3 SPG, 38.8 3P%), Jordan Miller (15.1 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 1.3 SPG, 54.0 FG%), and Norchad Omier (13.3 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 1.0 SPG, 1.2 BPG, 57.7 FG%). Wong has been hot over their last two games, combining for 47 points and going 14-16 from the free throw line. He is a dangerous scorer who can generate steals for easy baskets. Miller has made 53% of his shots during the tournament and has been great over their last two games. He is a big guard that rebounds and has four blocks over their three games. Omeir’s play has been critical, as he has had at least 13 rebounds in each of their games (44 total). His shot has been solid over their last two games, and he has added four steals on the other end of the floor. Always watch out for Nijel Pack (13.8 PPG, 40.5 3P%), as the guard has scored over 20 points in two of their games. He went 7-10 from three against Houston, a big reason for their blowout win.

#2 Texas Longhorns

We knew Texas was good, but few expected them to destroy a #3 Xavier team that was one of the best-scoring teams in the country. Texas used their incredibly balanced play to dominate the Musketeers on both ends of the floor. The Longhorns are also incredibly deep, with eight players averaging over 15 minutes per game. They have now won seven straight games, with an average margin of victory of 13.2 points. That includes wins against Xavier, Kansas (twice), and TCU. We knew they were one of the most talented teams in the country, and it appears they have now reached their full potential.

Texas has been the best offensive team in the Big 12 this season. They were first in scoring (77.9 PPG), field goal percentage (47.2%), and turnovers (11.5 TO/G). They were sixth in three-point shooting, fourth in assists (16.1 APG), and second in free throw percentage (74.9%). On defense, they were third in opponent scoring (67.3 PPG), fifth in field goal percentage (42.1%), seventh in three-point percentage (32.5%), sixth in rebounds (34.3 RPG), fourth in steals (7.9 SPG), and fourth in blocks (3.6 BPG). The Longhorns were eighteenth in the country in point differential (+10.5) but were last in turnover differential (-4.2).

Texas is led by Marcus Carr (15.8 PPG, 4.1 APG, 1.7 SPG, 36.7 3P%), Sir’Jabari Rice (12.9 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 46.1%, 36.6 3P%), and Tyrese Hunter (10.4 PPG, 3.0 RPG). Carr has had a solid tournament, averaging 15 points and making 46% of his shots (50% from three). He is also a solid defender and does a great job moving the ball around on offense. He scored 18 against Xavier and added six assists, helping pace the Longhorns past Xavier. Rice comes off the bench for Texas despite being their second-leading scorer. He has been great during the tournament, averaging 17.3 points and making 51.4% of his shots from the field and 50% from three. He plays bigger than his size and will pose a significant matchup problem for Miami. Hunter is a dangerous shooter who was fantastic against Xavier, going for 9 points, two blocks, and making 63.6% of his shots (3-3 from three). The big thing to watch will be the health of Dylan Disu (8.8 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 1.3 BPG, 61.3 FG%). He is going to be a game-time decision and will be a major blow to Texas if he can’t go. With Omier dominating for Miami, the Longhorns will need their star forward.

Free Pick: Over 149.5

This one will cover the over early and efficiently, especially if Disu can’t go. That will open up the Longhorns’ defense down low and allow Omier and Miami to capitalize. This will turn the game into a shootout with a lot of points. While Texas is solid on defense, the fact that Miami put 81 points up on a Houston team that allowed 57.5 per game (2nd in NCAA) shows us what to expect on Sunday. I also believe that Texas could have easily put up more against Xavier if the game hadn’t gotten to out of hand so early. There is so much offensive talent in this game that 149.5 seems far too low.

We’re taking the over and looking forward to an exciting Sunday game.

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