The ACC lives! In a March full of Power-5 conferences getting clowned on national TV, the conference in a supposed 'down year' is the last remaining blue blood. While the thought process behind the ACC being below their usual high standards is a TV topic that tends to gather life without substance, the NCAA selection committee stood firm and only allowed five teams from the conference into the postseason tourney. Just like last year.
Miami still has a chance to give the ACC a spot in the tournament final. Just like last year.
The short: The Hurricanes enter Houston as the only team to take out both a No. 1 and a No. 2 seed on their road to cutting down the nets. They won the ACC regular season before losing to Duke in the conference tournament but their fight has been everlasting. They have a short rotation as only six players average over 19 minutes, but so far they've survived foul trouble and have had at least one 20-point scorer in every game so far.
Head Coach Jim Larrañaga: He was born in the Bronx, went to high school in Queens and captained the Providence college basketball team in 1970. After that, his hands have held a clipboard. The man has been coaching forever. He coached Ralph Sampson at Virginia, is the second winningest coach in Bowling Green's history, and even coached 2006 George Mason to an improbable Final Four run before losing to Al Horford and Joakim Noah. Now, after reaching the Elite 8 last year with this very same Miami team, he charges towards a second career Final Four with hopes of reaching new heights.
Bought and paid for: The following is Nick Saban's nightmare. This Miami team is largely funded in NIL deals via one man, John Ruiz, who has made it his goal to use his many businesses to sign premier talent to attend Miami University. He helped first-year football coach Mario Cristobal nab a top-5 recruiting class in 2022. He was instrumental in the transfer of the Cavinder twins (Hanna and Haley) to play for the women's basketball team. This men's team is no different, headlined by Kansas State transfer Nijel Pack, who signed a two year $800,000 deal with Ruiz's LifeWallet. Money talks.
Norchad Omier is a problem: Miami plays a four-guard lineup that shoots and cuts among the best, but the most important piece might be the man in the middle. Sophomore Omier has 53 rebounds over the four tournament games thus far. The Arkansas State transfer wanted to compete with the best of them, and oh dear he is.
Long time coming: Could this be the year for Larrañaga? It'll take a victory over their old Big East foe UConn in order to get into the final, but for a man who has given his whole life to the game this could be his best, and final, shot to take home the championship. Hurricane nation, stand up!
Final Four opponent: No. 4 UConn
When to watch: Saturday, April 1st at 9 pm ET on CBS
What is a spread bet?: A bet on who will win or lose and by how much.
Here’s how the Canes have performed so far in the tournament: They handled business against No. 12 seed Drake pretty easily and then blew out No. 4 seed Indiana to make it to the Sweet 16. After that it was two straight rock fights as Miami upset the betting favorite Houston Cougars and survived against the 2 seed Texas Longhorns in a game that Texas led most of the way.
Advice: This bet is considered a tossup! Place this bet if you think Miami can keep it close despite the final result.
What is a moneyline bet?: A bet on who will win the game!
Here’s how the Canes have performed this year: Miami has lost twice since February.
Advice: This bet is considered unlikely to happen. The plus sign (+) indicates that Miami is not favored to win. Take this bet if you believe in the good guy, Jim Larrañaga.
What is an over/under bet?: A bet on the combined score of two teams.
The total scores of the Canes’ tournament games have been: 119 points, 154 points, 164 points and 169 points.
Advice: This bet is considered a tossup. Place this bet if you believe the Miami will shoot the lights out.