Miami Gets Nod In ACC Showdown At Virginia

Miami Hurricanes player in action

Willie Bee

Monday, February 20, 2017 3:17 PM UTC

Monday, Feb. 20, 2017 3:17 PM UTC

Despite a 3-game losing streak, Virginia is a strong favorite on the college basketball odds for Monday's home collision with the Miami Hurricanes.

Among the conversations watching college basketball, last Saturday at my favorite sports bar was how close we are to the end of the season, and how fast Selection Sunday is approaching. For Tony Bennett and the Virginia Cavaliers, time may be running out too quickly.

Mired in a late 3-game losing streak, the Cavaliers look to slow their recent descent in the ACC with a victory at home against the Miami Hurricanes. ESPN will carry the tip from John Paul Jones Arena a little past 7 PM (ET), and the numbers suggest Virginia will see the skid end. Bookmaker started the Cavs -10, that spread getting a slight adjustment down to 9½ while the total has been on the rise to 118 since beginning 116.

Both teams enter with identical 18-8 overall records, and each sitting 8-6 in the league ranks. The Cavaliers and Hurricanes are also both safely in the NCAA Men's Tournament right now, Virginia in the No. 4-6 seed range despite its slide while Miami figures to get a  no 9-10 seed.


'Canes Close With 3 Ranked Opponents

Miami (18-8 straight up, 8-16 against the spread) begins the week on a 2-game win streak and having won four of its last five, covering the NCAA basketball odds in three of those contests. Jim Larrañaga's lads pushed their offense up a notch last week in victories over Georgia Tech and Clemson, shooting 50% or better in both games and hitting 50% from 3-point range against the Yellow Jackets. The Hurricanes are just 1-5 vs. ranked teams this season and close with three such squads having Duke and Florida State after this matchup with the Cavs.

If you caught Saturday night's contest at North Carolina, you undoubtedly heard the announcers mention several times how losing an inside presence like Austin Nichols hurt Virginia (18-8 SU, 14-10 ATS). That's all fine and good, but the Cavaliers also didn't have anything going outside in the 65-41 drubbing at the hands of the Tar Heels, missing their first 15 shots from beyond the arc and finishing 2-for-20 from long-range.


Last 3 In C'Ville Never Reached The Totals

The 21st meeting between the two teams is the only matchup scheduled on this season's fixture and comes a year after colliding three times. Miami and Virginia split the regular-season contests last season, each winning and covering on their home floor before the Cavaliers posted a 73-68 triumph in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament, the final still leaving the 'Canes with an 11-9 lead in the series. Virginia was 4½ point chalk in the matchup played in Charlottesville, using London Perrantes' strong second half to grab a 66-58 decision. The last three games played at John Paul Jones Arena failed to reach the totals.

Virginia has dropped its last four road affairs and simply isn't playing well enough for me to lay nearly double digits for a free college basketball pick.


Free NCAAB Pick: Miami +9½ Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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