By Greg Dempson
This is the first of four Sweet 16 games with the tip time at 7:10 ET at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky. The Wildcats easily dispatched of their first two opponents, UNC–Ashville, (86–56,) and then Iowa, (87–68.) Villanova is fast and deep but in this contest it is a step up in class vs. a Hurricanes team that shot better than 55% vs. Wichita State while holding them to 33.8% shooting from the field including 6 of 22 when shooting 3’s.
Villanova likes to shoot the 3, but only hit 35.1% from beyond the arc for the season. Miami is good defensively vs. teams that attempt numerous 3’s per game as they allowed only 5.9 per contest while holding teams to attempting an average of only 17.5 per game. Villanova has shot 57% or more in their last two games.
Keys to the Game
· The sparkplug for the Hurricanes is 5’ 11” Angel Rodriguez who has 52 points in Miami’s first two games. The Hurricanes have four starters that score double-digits and their defense allowed an average of 63.7 PPG on the season. The keys to Miami’s success will be Rodriguez being efficient as well as taking care of the ball plus they need better production from is Center Tonye Jekiri, (7.8 PPG, 8.7 RPG and 1.0 BPG). Jekiri has been non-existent in the tournament, averaging just 3.5 PPG and 5.0 RPG over the first two contests.
· The key to the Wildcats’ success will be the play of Guard Ryan Arcidiacono, (12.0 PPG, 4.4 APG, 1.4 SPG.) He’s averaging 15.0 PPG and 4.0 APG throughout the tournament thus far, and he was an impressive 10-for-15 from the floor as well as 6 of 9 from beyond the arc in their first two games. The Wildcats averaged 75.2 PPG on the road while allowing an average of 70.1 per game.
Angles and Systems
· Miami is18–06 ATS and +11.4-units after a game where they made 55% or more of their shots.
· Villanova is 26–49 ATS and -27.90-units in road games after three straight games and committing 14 or less turnovers.
· The Hurricanes are 23–10 when on the road and off an upset win as an underdog.
· Head coach Wright/Team are Wright is 9–20 ATS and -13.0-units after two straight games where they made 50% or more of their shots.
· Head coach Larranaga/Team is 20–7 ATS and +12.30-units after a game where they made 50% of their 3 point shots.
· From game 16 out, play on an underdog in a game involving two excellent free throw shooting teams, making 73% or more free throws per game, a good ball handling team allowing 14.5 or less turnovers per contest when playing against a poor pressure defense that forces 14.5 or less turnovers per game. This system is 165–106 = 61% ATS the past five seasons.
Miami vs Villanova Pick
My Sweet 16 Every Edge Thursday night selection is on the Miami Hurricanes at +5 points at –118.