The No. 4 Huskies (29–8) have rolled through the NCAA tournament so far, with their tightest game decided by 15 points. The No. 5 Hurricanes (29–7) authored second-half comebacks in the Round of 64 and again in the Elite Eight to advance to this point, but in between those games were two dominant victories.
Connecticut’s path through the West Region included an 87-63 win over No. 13 Iona, a 70-55 victory over No. 5 Saint Mary’s, an 88-65 drubbing of No. 8 Arkansas and an emphatic, 82-54 triumph over No. 3 Gonzaga. That’s an average margin of victory of 22.5 points; the Huskies are currently favored by 5.5 at SI Sportsbook.
As for UM, the team emerged from the Midwest Region following a 63-56 victory over No. 12 Drake, an 85-69 win over No. 4 Indiana, an 89-75 upset over No. 1 Houston and an 88-81 comeback to knock off No. 2 Texas.
This wasn’t a Final Four matchup many people penciled in before the tournament began, but it’s also not as big a shock as the game taking place on the other side of the bracket. That said, will the Huskies’ run continue? Or will the Hurricanes continue to make history and advance to play for their first-ever national championship?
Miami vs. UConn Best Bet: UConn -5.5 (-118)
UConn enters Saturday’s game as the top-ranked team in the country, per KenPom, with the third-ranked offense and No. 11 defense. The most points it has allowed in the tournament was 65 to the Razorbacks and it’s scored 80 or more in all but one game. The trio of Adama Sanogo, Jordan Hawkins and Andre Jackson Jr. has powered the Huskies throughout their run. Sanogo is good for 20 points and just under 10 rebounds. Hawkins has put together back-to-back 20-plus point games and drained 16 threes across four games. Jackson has led the team in assists in each outing and flirted with a triple-double last time out.
Dan Hurley’s team ranks second in the country in rebounding margin (+9.4), top 20 in field-goal percentage defense (40.4), and top 15 in three-point percentage allowed (29.7). For a team that was solid from beyond the arc for most of the year, Connecticut has ramped up its outside shooting in the tournament with more than 10 made threes per game. The Huskies do, however, commit 18 fouls per game and don't get to the line all that often themselves.
Miami has one of the few offenses capable of keeping up with UConn. It ranks fifth in adjusted offensive efficiency but outside the top 100 on defense. Overall, though, UM is the lowest-ranked team remaining in the field at No. 22. But the Hurricanes have plenty of offensive weapons to hurl at the Huskies. Isaiah Wong and Nijel Pack both have a pair of 20-plus point outings to their names in the tournament, Jordan Miller erupted for 27 points in the Elite Eight (on 7-7 shooting from the field, 13-13 from the stripe) and Norchad Omier has recorded three double-doubles so far.
Jim Larrañaga’s squad is a sound three-point shooting team at just under 37%, but it impressively upended Texas despite shooting just 2-8 from deep in its last game. The ‘Canes did, however, shoot better than 59% from the field and 28-32 from the free-throw line. Since the Drake game in the Round of 64, Miami has scored 85 or more in its last three, but its defense remains a point of concern.
This is a meeting between two teams that both cover at high rates. UConn is 25–11–1 against the spread this year (4–0 in the tournament) and Miami is 22–14 (also 4–0 in March Madness). The over is appealing given what both of these teams have shown on offense, but after the Huskies held Gonzaga’s top-ranked offense to 54 points, one might be better off betting on the spread rather than the total.
In that case, Connecticut to cover is the play here, even though their status as 5.5-point favorites is its second-largest spread of the tournament. The Huskies, who are the odds-on title favorites, will continue their March to Monday’s national championship game.
NCAA Tournament Betting Record
First Four: 3–1
Round of 64: 3–3
Sweet 16: 2–2
Elite Eight: 2–0
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