The NIT Tournament is down to eight teams and with the NCAA Tournament not scheduled to start until Thursday; those generating sports picks need a fun distraction other than the NBA and NHL.
The opening game on ESPN at 7:00 Eastern features Miami-Fl. and Richmond, in what will be their first-ever meeting. These are the top two seeds out of one of the four brackets in this event, which is why the Spiders are the home team.
Sportsboooks have set the NCAA college basketball odds accordingly and made Richmond a two-point favorite. Here is a look at each team and what to expect.
Hurricanes Try to Blow into New York for First Time
Miami (23-12, 15-17-1 ATS) was on the wrong side of the bubble as they entered their ACC tournament game and a loss to Notre Dame, who sealed their fate.
The Hurricanes are in their 12th NIT, but in three previous tries in the quarterfinals, they have never gotten past this round.
This will be Miami’s first road test in this tourney, having beaten N.C. Central 75-71 as 8.5-point home favorites and taking down Alabama 73-66 as a five-point choice.
Point guard Angel Rodriquez is the Canes best player but he’s been battling injuries and in his place has been Manu Lecomte. In the six games Rodriguez either didn’t play, or played less than 10 minutes because of his wrist, Lecomte averaged 13.0 points, 2.7 assists and 1.8 rebounds in 27.8 minutes per outing. Other players to watch for Miami are Sheldon McClellanm who is averaging 14.3 points and 4.5 rebounds and Tonye Jekiri is averaging 8.7 points and 10.1 rebounds. Coach Jim Larranaga has been one of the best tactical coaches for years and in the Hurricanes past 11 contests, they are 8-3 (5-6 ATS), with each setback coming to a team in the Sweet 16 (North Carolina, Louis and Notre Dame)
The Canes have been a quality road club at 7-4 SU and ATS, averaging 71.4 points a game and when in the role they opened at this confrontation, college basketball handicappers are solid with what they found, as the Hurricanes are 4-2 and a perfect 6-0 against the number. With No Kentucky or Duke on the radar, Larranaga know if they can reach the semifinals, Miami can win it all.
Richmond’s Defense has Opposing Teams Thinking Arachnophobia
Coach Chris Mooney’s has closed the season 8-1 and 7-1-1 ATS and anyone working the college basketball odds has seen the Spiders improvement on defense to the point where opponents feel like something is crawling on their skin.
Richmond (21-13, 15-15-1 ATS) has lowered their points against average to 61.1 a contest and shooting percentage defense to 41.9. If foes think it is better to attack the Spiders web from outside the arc, forget it, as they only connect on 30.9 percent.
As the top seed in the bracket, this is Richmond’s third consecutive home game, earning a push versus St. Francis-NY as 84-74 winners and getting a relatively fortunate cover of Arizona State in OT, with two free throws with 1.2 seconds remaining in the 76-70 triumph as 4.5-point faves.
The Spiders have four double-digit scorers, Kendall Anthony (16.6), Terry Allen (12.8) T.J. Cline (11.6) and ShawnDre’ Jones (10.4). Richmond is 12-3 (7-7-1 ATS) as home favorite.
What to Watch for and Winner
Really like how Richmond has finished the season, but they are being outrebounded by six per game on the year and Miami has enough bodies and more quickness to bother the Spiders on both ends of the floor on the glass. Also, the point spread favors the Hurricanes who are 7-0 ATS as a road underdog of three points or less and I can see their super athleticism being the difference in this contest and will choose the Miami to win and cover, so add them to your college basketbal picks tonight and enjoy the action.
NCAA Tournament Pick – Miami +2 at Pinnacle