The Miami Hurricanes are 125/1 long shots to win this year’s NCAA Championship, while considered outsiders to defend last season’s Atlantic Coast Conference title.
Jim Larranaga’s squad has its chances in early ‘cupcake’ clashes, but faces taller orders down the stretch.
Larkin departs after “Sweet Sixteen"
Miami rolled through last year’s ACC Tourney, capturing the crown with an 87-77 triumph over the North Carolina Tar Heels. The Hurricanes moved on to “March Madness” as the East bracket’s No. 2 seed, losing in the “Sweet Sixteen” as a 5 ½-point NCAAB betting odds favorite to the Marquette Golden Eagles, 71-61.
Hurricanes guard Shane Larkin departed his squad for the NBA after leading in scoring (14.5 PPG) and assists (4.6 APG). Miami’s Kenny Kadji (6.8 RPG) and Julian Gamble (1.8 BPG) have also graduated, adding to the team’s voids to fill.
Reed, Burnett join the backcourt
Hurricanes freshmen Deandre Burnett and Davon Reed come in as promising guards, ranked as five-star recruits by Scout. Burnett spent most of his high school years in Miami, while later shifting to Massanutten Military Academy. Reed heads south from Princeton, NJ, turning down offers from Wake Forest, Cincinnati and Memphis.
Forwards Erik Swoope and Donnavan Kirk are back for their senior years, while Hialeah native Tonye Jekeri looks to increase minutes at center. Miami’s Sheldon McClellan transfers in from Texas, following 13.5 PPG for the Longhorns – along with sinking 83.3 percent of his free throws.
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Hurricanes head west early
Miami looks to cruise through its November schedule before arriving in Anaheim for the Wooden Legacy. The George Washington Colonials await the Hurricanes in the quarterfinals, while the pair of foes then faces either Marquette or Cal State Fullerton in the next day’s action.
January’s conference play starts with a pair of road duels against Syracuse and North Carolina, while reaching a home date with Duke later in the month. The Hurricanes start February with three straight matchups in Coral Gables, setting the table for a favorable late run in scheduling.
Late cashes for the ‘Canes
Miami began last season with a 10-2 spread record in its first dozen ‘board’ battles, with the UNDER going 10-1-1. The Hurricanes will have to hope their new guards can contribute some instant dividends, lifting the team’s octane from last year’s tighter duels.
Miami will be best to pass on backing for your NCAAB Picks in its early and mid-season schedule, while awaiting the “bubble” come tournament time. Burnett and Co. will still be a threat to cash as underdogs in big spots through their campaign, going 5-0 ATS in last year’s five matchups against Duke and North Carolina.