Our expert handicapper explores tonight's matchup between Stanford and Miami FL. Join us in this betting preview to find out which team is worthy of your NCAA Basketball picks for thursday's short schedule.
Stanford vs. Miami, FLA 9:00 ET ESPN
At 9:00 pm ET, as televised on ESPN, the Stanford Cardinal meets the Miami Hurricanes for the 2015 NIT Title. The Cardinals are once again, short favorites on the college basketball odds The game will be played in the mecca of sports, Madison Square Garden in New York City. There is a segment of sports fans which denigrates this (N)ot (I)mportant (T)ournament as a second class citizen. For, the participants in this event are teams 69 through 100 in the YTD rankings. History has shown however, that teams who go deep into this event, especially the winner, use this Tournament as a springboard for success in the following season. Each of these teams recorded hard fought victories Tuesday night on this floor to reach this final game.
Miami came from behind (once again) to defeat Temple (60-57). It was their 2nd straight comeback win, after winning at Richmond the previous Tuesday. Trailing 36-18 in that game, the Hurricanes went on a 45-25 finish for a 63-61 victory. Credit the Canes’ resiliency and the coaching of savvy veteran mentor, Jim Larranaga. Miami relied on their defense for Tuesday’s win, allowing Temple just 57 points on 30% shooting and just 11% from the arc. Lack of reliable scoring, without Angel Rodriguez (wrist) their starting point guard, may prove to lead to their demise tonight. Only McClelland, who had 16 points against Temple, could finish with double figures. This is a young Miami team, who will use the NIT as a stepping stone to be an ACC contender next year.
But, the time is NOW for Stanford. Led by 7th year HC Dawkins, the Cardinal is no stranger to NIT success. They won this event in 2012, played in the NIT the following year, then went to the Sweet 16 last season. They are led by a strong trio of seniors, who have experienced post-season success in each of their seasons. In their 67-60 win over ODU (broke from the gate with a 24-6 lead), the Cardinal was led by those 3 senior starters. The backcourt duo of Brown (14), Randle (24) and big man Nastic (17) combined for 55 points. The defense also stepped forward, holding the Monarchs to 34% shooting, including 16% from behind the arc. Remember that HC Dawkins is now 58-37 ATS as road chalk!
We don’t have the better of it on the bench in the Larranaga/Dawkins’ matchup. But, the strong trio of senior leaders, combined with their vast post-season experience is enough to get the job done against a Miami team, who figures to really miss injured PG Rodriguez in this matchup. Given this scenario, back Stanford with your NCAA basketball picks.