As a New Jersey native, this is crazy. St. Peter’s is playing in the Elite Eight as a 15-seed after knocking off powerhouses like Kentucky and Purdue.
Because I’m in New Jersey, I’m unable to bet teams like St. Peter’s, Rutgers, and Seton Hall unless I bet out-of-state. However, I’m still going to give my picks and predictions on that game and the other Sunday game that features Kansas and Miami.
Miami vs Kansas: Kansas -6 (-110)
The Miami Hurricanes have been electric throughout the NCAA Tournament. But the streak is going to end against Kansas. Ultimately, Miami was being dealt teams that just aren’t efficient enough of the offensive end. How many times did Iowa State miss wide-open looks against Miami in the Sweet 16?
Miami is allowing teams to shoot 34.5% from deep and 52.9% from inside the arc. The Hurricanes are an active defense and will force turnovers, but overall, teams are getting some very good looks against Miami. It’s just that teams like Wisconsin and Iowa State aren’t known for offensive star power.
Miami will likely stick around offensively but the Hurricanes rarely earn offensive rebounds and that will also hurt the Hurricanes in the long run.
Give me Kansas in a double-digit rout. Kansas is the only one-seed remaining. The Jayhawks need to make the Tournament’s Final Four!
Also, the total for this game is sitting at 147. I’m expecting points to be scored in this game, like the oddsmakers. Kansas is shooting a 53.6% effective field goal percentage and is dominating the offensive glass, earning 33.3% of offensive rebounds. With Miami allowing teams to rebound 30.5% of the time on the offensive end, Kansas should have a field day on the offensive end as long as turnovers stay down.
Meanwhile, Kameron McGusty and the Miami Hurricanes are hitting some really tough shots and dominating from the floor. I don’t think it continues to an extreme but do believe Miami has the offensive pieces to at least stick around and score some points to get the over.
St. Peter’s vs North Carolina: St. Peter’s +7.5
Forget analytics. Throw the analytics in the trash. St. Peter’s has defied the odds in every which way. The Peacocks came into this tournament as a below-average offense. Yet, the defense has become one of the best in the nation and now the offense is doing enough to help the Peacocks secure wins.
St. Peter’s is shooting 34.8% from deep but just 46.1% from inside the arc. It’s likely going to be difficult for the Peacocks to score inside for most of this game, but overall, the Peacocks should be able to limit turnovers knowing that UNC is only forcing 13.9% of turnovers per game.
On the other hand, UNC is knocking down 36.3% of threes and 50.8% of twos but could fall into the turnover trap that every other team has fallen into against St. Peter’s. We’ve seen UNC struggle with pressure and the Peacocks are going to pressure UNC every chance they get in the backcourt.
I like the Peacocks to keep this game close.
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