Game to be played at KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, KY
Villanova was one of the more impressive teams over the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament, while Miami (Fla.) squeaked out a pair of victories en route to the Sweet 16. The South Region opponents square off Friday in Louisville with a berth in the Elite 8 on the line.
The second-seeded Wildcats and third-seeded Hurricanes are barely distinguishable on the seed line, but their play last weekend left a clear difference between the two programs. Villanova topped UNC Asheville by 30 points before putting up 54 first-half points in a comfortable 19-point triumph against Iowa. Meanwhile, Miami nipped Buffalo and Wichita State by a combined 11 points behind two big performances from senior guard Angel Rodriguez. The Wildcats also got a lift from their senior guard last weekend, as Ryan Arcidiacono eyes another strong effort after averaging 15 points on 10-of-15 shooting (including 6-of-9 from the arc) in the first two rounds.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, CBS
LINE HISTORY: Villanova opened as five-point favorites and was bet down to -4 by mid-week. The total debuted at 141.5 and dropped slightly to 140.5. Check out the complete line history here.
WHAT BOOKS SAY: “We had Miami sitting at +4.5 with just over 40 percent of the action to cover the spread on Monday. We have since gone to Villanova -4 with 57 percent of the action on Villanova to cover. We opened the total at 142.5 with over 90 percent of the early action on the over Monday. We have since moved the total down to 141 with some sharp action coming in on the Under.” – Michael Stewart of CarbonGaming.
ABOUT MIAMI (27-7, 19-13-1 ATS, 16-17 O/U): Rodriguez has the look of the classic college basketball senior point guard who simply won’t let his team lose, having compiled 52 points, nine rebounds, nine assists and seven steals in the first two games “He has great confidence in himself, and when he’s focused, he has the ability to play at a very, very high level,” coach Jim Larranaga said of Rodriguez, who averages 12.6 points, trailing only backcourt mate Sheldon McClellan among the team leaders. “His biggest challenge is he needs competition. When the competition is at its highest, he’s at his best.” McClellan has averaged 19 points in this tournament, although fellow senior Tonye Jekiri (7.8 points, 8.7 rebounds) has been limited to a total of seven points and 10 boards in two games.
ABOUT VILLANOVA (31-5, 17-17-1 ATS, 18-16-1 O/U): The Wildcats followed their regular formula against Iowa, as their four top scorers all registered double-digit points – and combined for eight 3-pointers – while big man Daniel Ochefu took care of the rebounding (11) and the shot-blocking (three). “We definitely can go all the way as long as we stick to what we do,” said Arcidiacono, who averages 12 points, putting him behind Josh Hart (15.4) and Kris Jenkins (13.3) on the squad. Hart, Jenkins, Arcidiacono and freshman Jalen Brunson have combined to take nearly 700 3-pointers this season and each shoots at least 35 percent from the 3-point line, not to mention at least 74 percent from the foul line, as well.
* Miami is 4-1 ATS in its last five games versus a team with a winning percentage above .600.
* Villanova is 1-5 ATS in their last six versus Atlantic Coast conference opponents.
* Over is 9-2 in Miami’s last 11 NCAA Tournament games.
* Over is 8-1 in Wildcats last nine games following a SU win.
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