The NIT gets a chance to be the only men’s college games on for the next couple of days, and tonight, the Hurricanes and Gophers fight for a chance to make it into the final eight teams in the NIT. How can we make some money off of this matchup?

NCAA basketball odds makers first listed the Hurricanes as the -4.5 point home favorite, but early sports betting action has extended the lines, and a spread of 5.5 is now on offer at some NCAA basketball betting shops. Will the 2nd seed be able to keep their postseason alive, or will the Gophers be able to steal their thunder?

Lets preview this matchup and decide where us bettors should lay our NCAA Basketball picks.

Hurricanes mild

Minnesota vs. MiamiThe eventual champions, the Florida State Seminoles, took down Miami in the ACC tournament. Miami won their first round game against Georgia Tech 54-36, but did not have enough left in the tank to hang with Florida State down the stretch, and lost 82-71. Now in the NIT, the Canes won their first round game against Valpo, 66-50, but will the trend of them losing in the second round continue? 

Miami has great balance on offense this season. They average over 71 points per game, and have four players that average double figures in scoring. They are also very deep, as they have ten players that average double figures in minutes per game. In their win over Valpo, the Hurricanes got 18 points from Rion Brown. Brown got most of these points from shooting 4-7 from beyond the arc. 

Gophers not big enough 

Minnesota is still rebuilding a once great program, and they had the unfortunate task of playing in the country’s best conference this season. The Big Ten was just too much for the young Gophers to handle this season, as they finished with a conference record of only 6-12, and after their huge win over Indiana in January; they could not continue their good play. They did win their first game in the Big Ten tournament, beating Northwestern 75-68. However, they then lost to second seed Michigan, 73-69 in the second round. 

The Gophers are good at what most Tubby Smith teams have been known for; defense, and a slow down offense. Tubby-ball led the Gophers to an outstanding field goal percentage and assist numbers this season. The Gophers also have a very balanced scoring attack, as three players average double figures. Forward Trevor Mbakwe lead the way, averaging 14 points, 9 rebounds and shooting 60% from the field. However, Mbakwe is currently recovering from a torn ACL and quite obviously, will not play in tonight’s game.

The Sharp Pick

Some have been calling for Tubby Smith’s job in Minnesota, and I think the outcome of this game will have a lot to do with whether or not Smith gets to stay in Minnesota. That being said, I like the Hurricanes laying points here. The Gophers will be without their best player, and Miami owns the only win and cover between these two teams. In 2009, the Hurricanes beat the Gophers 63-58.

Miami is 4-1-1 ATS in their last six games, while going 4-2 SU in those games. They are also 5-0 SU in their last five games at home. Seeing as these first and second round games are being played at the host team’s court, I like the Hurricanes to cover tonight.

My Pick: Hurricanes -4.5