Providence vs. Kansas
Friday, 3/25 at 7:29 ET
The Big East season champions were disrespected from the beginning of the tournament, being given a four seed and barely made the betting favorite over South Dakota St. This is a team that made an impression right from the beginning of the season. They defeated Wisconsin 63-58 in November and then Texas Tech 72-68 in early December. With the exception of the conference tournament loss to Creighton, the Friars have been a model of consistency all year long.
“They’re the blue bloods of all blue bloods,” Coach Cooley stated earlier this week when talking about Friday’s opponent. “Coach Self (is a) Hall of Famer. Great players. Agbaji, he can play anywhere at any level. (David) McCormack — we’re learning more about them as we haven’t had to study them. We haven’t played them. The fact that we have an opportunity to play someone like that to survive and advance, the opportunity awaits itself. We’ll have some issues. We’ll have some problems. Yet, at the same time, you’ve got to be that guy. You’ve got to be them dudes. …The opportunity to play them — that’s the scouting report. Whoever wants it more, whoever’s dialed in more, whoever’s the tougher opponent will survive and advance — ‘cause these games are coming down to one, two possessions every single game.”
Kansas’ Self will be coaching his 14th Sweet 16 game as a head coach. He is 10-3 in his previous 13 trips. In his eight wins for Kansas (8-2 record) in those games, they won by an average of 15 points. He has the Jayhawks on quite a role, as they dominated in the Big 12 tournament and again dominated in the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament. However, this figures to be a battle.
With two teams that feature somewhat similar styles of play, we see this game coming down to who wants it more. Kansas is the better team on paper, but Providence owned one of the best records in the nation against Top 50 opponents (10-4) and they are playing with a chip on their shoulders. Look for the Jayhawks to advance but take the points with the Friars.
Iowa State vs. Miami
Friday, 3/25 at 9:59 ET
Iowa State upset both LSU and Wisconsin to reach the third game of the NCAA Tournament. Prior to that they lost by 31 to Texas Tech in the Big 12 Tournament when they barely scored 40 points. Only 8 days prior to that, they scored a whopping 36 points when crushed by Oklahoma State, so, yes, there success in March Madness has been a big surprise. This is an erratic team that has had some very ugly losses in 2022.
University of Miami Head Coach Jim Larrañaga has his team playing their best ball of the year. A winner of 25 games, Miami has been underrated all year and they represent the ACC which is having a good run in the tournament. The Hurricanes have four players averaging in double-figure scoring: Kameron McGusty (17.5), Isaiah Wong (15.5), Charlie Moore (12.8) and Jordan Miller (10.1). The Cyclones have one player, and they have shown throughout the year, that they struggle offensively. Coupled with Miami’s respectable defense that is good at turning the ball over, Iowa State will have trouble matching points for a full 40 minutes. Take the Hurricanes and the Under (132.5).