NIT Finals Betting Preview: Stanford vs. Miami

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USA Today Sports

Stanford Cardinal vs. Miami Hurricanes (+1.5, 134.5)

Chasson Randle is one win away from bookending his Stanford career with NIT championships and can complete his senior season in style with a victory against Miami (Fla.) on Thursday at Madison Square Garden. Randle became the Cardinal’s all-time leading scorer on Tuesday in a semifinal win against Old Dominion as he scored 24 points to move his four-year total to 2,350 points, passing Todd Lichti’s mark that stood for more than 25 years. Randle was Stanford’s leading scorer as a freshman on its 2011-12 team that defeated Minnesota in the NIT championship game. 

The Cardinal are aiming for their third NIT championship – they also won it in 1991 – while the Hurricanes had never even made the semifinals in 11 previous NIT appearances. Miami slipped past Temple in Tuesday’s first semifinal behind junior guard Sheldon McClellan, who registered 16 points and 11 boards. The Hurricanes likely will not have point guard Angel Rodriguez (wrist), who has missed the last three games, and also will be without center Tonye Jekiri, who suffered a concussion in the first half against the Owls.

TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN

LINE HISTORY:  Both the spread and the total have yet to move off their opening numbers of Miami +1.5 and 134.5 respectively. 

CHEERLEADER WAR:

ABOUT STANFORD (23-13 SU, 16-19-1 ATS, 17-18-1 O/U): Randle is hardly a one-man show for Stanford, as he averages 19.4 points to join Anthony Brown (14.9) and Stefan Nastic (13.5) in double figures, and the senior trio combined for 55 of the team’s 67 points against Old Dominion. “For me to win an NIT championship, for our seniors, (if) we went out on top and won our last game … that would be very special for us,” Randle told reporters. “For the younger guys, they will have something to hang their hats on for next year going into next season.” Brown is 6-of-9 from 3-point range in the last two games and has made 44.3 percent from the behind the arc on the season.

ABOUT MIAMI (25-12 SU, 17-17-1 ATS, 14-16-2 O/U): The Hurricanes continue to win on the defensive end, as they have captured seven of eight while holding their opponents to 62.3 points during that stretch. However, not having Jekiri (8.6 points, 9.9 rebounds, 51 blocks) could be a major blow on Thursday as the team’s next best rebounder is McClellan (4.7) and no one else on the squad has more than 17 blocks. “We’ve been like a M.A.S.H. unit,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said to reporters. “But somehow, some way, these guys find a way to stick together.”

TRENDS:

*Cardinal are 5-11 ATS in their last 16 games overall.
*Hurricanes are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games.
*Over is 7-2 in Cardinal last 9 games following a ATS win.
*Under is 4-1 in Hurricanes last 5 games following a S.U. win.

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