No. 11 Wichita State Shockers at No. 3 Miami Hurricanes (+2, 131.5)
Game to be played at Dunkin’ Donuts Center, Providence, RI
Two of the most experienced and productive backcourt duos in the nation meet when third-seeded Miami (Fla.) takes on No. 11 seed Wichita State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday in Providence, R.I. Sheldon McClellan and Angel Rodriguez combined for 44 points in Miami’s first-round South Region win while Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet have led the Shockers to a pair of victories.
Rodriguez scored 24 as the Hurricanes survived with a 79-72 victory over Buffalo on Thursday, and the 5-11 point guard’s block ignited a decisive run. “That’s the beauty of this team,” Rodriguez told reporters. “We just need one little thing to get us going, and we found it on the defensive end.” VanVleet and Baker were freshmen when Wichita State reached the Final Four in 2013, and they have been on the floor together for 118 games in four seasons — emerging victorious in 105 of them. The seniors combined for 29 points in Thursday’s 65-55 first-round win over Arizona.
TV: 12:10 p.m. ET, CBS
LINE HISTORY: Despite being an 11-seed, books are giving lots of respect to the hot Shockers, opening them as 2.5-point faves over the 3-seed Hurricanes from Miami. The line has come back to Miami a bit, now sitting at Wichita State -2. The total hasn’t moved from the opening number 131.5. Check out the complete line history here.
ABOUT WICHITA STATE (26-8, 20-12 ATS, 13-18-1 O/U): The Shockers got a strong effort from their bench again Thursday as guard Conner Frankamp and forward Markis McDuffie each scored 10. “It’s going to take more than me and (Baker) to be able to get these wins,” VanVleet told reporters, “and the last two games we’ve been able to do that, so give these guys a ton of credit.” Baker averages 14.1 points overall while VanVleet is the only other player in double figures (12.2) and he dishes out 5.6 assists per contest.
ABOUT MIAMI (26-7, 18-13-1 ATS, 16-16 O/U): Rodriguez scored at least 17 in four of the last six games and drained three 3-pointers in three of the past five while McClellan, a 50-percent shooter overall, is scoring 18 per game in the last five outings. Davon Reed (11.2) and Ja’Quan Newton (11.1) support McClellan (15.9) and Rodriguez (12.1) on the perimeter for the Hurricanes, who are 5-2 in their last seven. Senior center Tonye Jekiri (7.9 points, 8.8 rebounds) is the key to Miami’s defense with 126 career blocks – sixth all time at Miami.
* Wichita State is 4-0 ATS in its last four non-conference games.
* Miami is 0-4 ATS in its last four games overall.
* Under is 4-0-1 in Wichita State’s last five games overall.
* Over is 6-0 in Miami’s last six neutral site games.
No. 9 Connecticut Huskies vs. No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks (-8, 140)
Game to be played at Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines, IO
There are seven games on Kevin Ollie’s NCAA Tournament head-coaching résumé, and the Connecticut coach still has yet to taste defeat. That run, though, will face a serious test Saturday when the ninth-seeded Huskies take on the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed, Kansas, in a second-round South Region contest in Des Moines, Iowa.
Much like 2014, when Ollie guided UConn to the national championship as a seventh seed, the current Huskies are on a late-season roll while winning five straight, including a 3-0 run to win the American Athletic Conference tournament title and a 74-67 comeback victory over eighth-seeded Colorado in Thursday’s NCAA tourney first round. “Coaching is overrated,” Ollie said Thursday in his post-game news conference. “I want to have a great relationship with my guys, so I can push them and demand everything I possibly can out of them. They’ve done a beautiful job.” Kansas enters Saturday’s contest on a 15-game roll after, as expected, routing 16th-seeded Austin Peay 105-79 on Thursday. “I don’t think our guys have felt pressure from being the No. 1 seed,” Kansas coach Bill Self told the media afterward. “… But I don’t think it’s to the point that (we) need to validate anything anymore. I think what you gotta do, is you gotta play hungry and you gotta play aggressive and you gotta play loose – and you can’t let other people play well.”
TV: 7:45 p.m. ET, CBS
LINE HISTORY: The overall No. 1 seed Jayhawks opened as 8-point faves over the streaking Huskies and the line hasn’t moved since. The total has been bet up one point from 139 to 140. Check out the complete line history here.
ABOUT CONNECTICUT (25-10, 17-13-1 ATS, 14-16-1 O/U): The Huskies got off to a sluggish start against Colorado, falling behind 33-22 late in the opening half, but they turned things around with tight defense and a 22-of-23 performance from the free-throw line to outscore Colorado 52-34 the rest of the way. Guards Rodney Purvis (19 points), Daniel Hamilton (17) and Sterling Gibbs (12) combined for 48 points in the win and are joined by forward Shonn Miller to give the team a quartet of leading scorers averaging between 12 and 12.7 points per game. In the meantime, defense (opponents are shooting only 38.3 percent from the floor) and free-throw shooting (UConn’s 79.3 percentage is tops in the nation) have been huge for the Huskies all season.
ABOUT KANSAS (31-4, 22-11 ATS, 13-19-1 O/U): The Jayhawks haven’t lost since an 85-72 defeat at Iowa State on Jan. 25, and are averaging 85.3 points over their last six outings, including their 3-0 run to the Big 12 tournament title. And with Kansas jumping ahead of Austin Peay early Thursday, the Jayhawks were able to get their bench heavily involved, and reserve swingman Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk wound up leading the team with a career-high 23 points. Senior forward Perry Ellis chipped in 21 points and leads the team with his 16.8 average while guards Wayne Selden Jr. (13.3), Frank Mason III (13.0) and Devonte’ Graham (11.4) also are averaging double digits for the Jayhawks, who rank in the top 10 nationally in field-goal (49.7) and 3-point (42.5) percentage.
* Connecticut is 5-0 ATS in its last five games overall.
* Kansas is 12-3 ATS in its last 15 games overall.
* Over is 10-2 in Connecticut’s last 12 games versus Big 12 opponents.
* Over is 4-1-1 in Kansas’ last six games overall.