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Miami vs. UConn Final Four Expert Pick

Miami vs. UConn Final Four Expert Pick

MAIMI VS. UCONN FINAL FOUR EXPERT PICK - The second national semifinal features the two hottest teams left in the tournament. Miami coach Jim Larrañaga certainly remembers beating Connecticut on the game’s biggest stage, as he got to his first Final Four by besting the Huskies when he was at George Mason. 

Obviously, the players and coaches are completely different from that miracle run, but Larrañaga’s experience can’t be overlooked. Even though Dan Hurley’s a brilliant basketball mind, Larrañaga is the only coach here who has previously coached a Final Four game. Of the past 22 national champions, only five featured a coach making his first appearance in the Final Four. 

But Connecticut and Final Four success have been synonymous ever since the school’s first trip to college basketball’s final weekend in 1999. The Huskies are 8-1 all-time in Final Four and national championship games, only losing in 2009 to Michigan State. Every other time UConn has reached the Final Four, it left with the title. The Huskies come in playing the best basketball of anyone, having just blitzed Arkansas and Gonzaga in Las Vegas. Miami’s also playing pretty well, knocking out No. 1 seed Houston and No. 2 seed Texas in Kansas City to reach its first Final Four. But can a mostly offense-heavy team find enough stops to keep Connecticut from taking control?


The Odds







(29-7 SU, 22-14 ATS)






(29-8 SU, 25-11-1 ATS)






When: Saturday, April 1st, 8:49 pm EST

Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX


Public Bets: UConn, 62%

Public Money: UConn, 72%

Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of March 31st, 2023

Miami vs. Connecticut In-Season Trends

There’s a major issue with trying to beat Connecticut: the Huskies adjust to whatever they have to face. Against Arkansas, which likes to speed teams up, Connecticut stepped up its tempo and dropped 88 points on the Razorbacks. Against slow-paced Saint Mary’s, the Huskies pulled away by holding the Gaels to 39% from the field. The Huskies are also adept at either starting fast as they did against Arkansas or leaving teams in the dust as they did to Iona and Saint Mary’s.

At its core, Connecticut prefers to play defense, going UNDER in six of its past eight games. The Huskies have also been a cover machine as of late, going 5-1 SU and ATS since the regular season ended and covering in nine of their past 11 games.

Miami does have a chance here, though, because the Huskies’ biggest weakness is how often they foul. When teams send the Hurricanes to the line, they pay the price. Miami shot 88% from the stripe against Texas and has shot 81% from the line in the tournament. The Hurricanes don’t play as aggressive on defense as the Huskies, but they do convert turnovers when they come, another reason why Miami has played OVER in four of its past five and covered four straight games.

The Difference-Makers

Andre Jackson has taken his game to another level in this tournament and dished out 10 assists against Gonzaga. Odds are that he’ll get a lot of chances to dish to Jordan Hawkins and Adama Sanogo, as defense really isn’t Miami’s strength. 

The Hurricanes are at their best when they push the pace and take smart shots or get to the line, which they should be able to do in this game. Miami doesn’t miss many free throws and doesn’t really have a weak spot on offense. Whether it’s Jordan Miller, Nijel Pack or Isaiah Wong, the Hurricanes can score and score plenty. Their biggest question is whether they can get into the bonus and force Connecticut to give them scoring chances.

The Pick

This is a tough line to deal with. Miami has the experience and the offensive ability to make sure this game stays tight, but Connecticut has barely been scratched in this tournament. Still, the Hurricanes have so many scorers that it’s difficult to see Connecticut shutting them down the way they did with Arkansas and Gonzaga.

Miami’s guard play has allowed it to handle Houston and Texas’ defenses, and I think the Hurricanes can keep this game tight. I think Connecticut comes out with the win, but I’m not counting on a two-possession margin where I expect a high-scoring show.

Dan's Pick

Miami +5

Over 149


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