Sunday, March 27 NCAA Elite 8 Tournament Preview

Miami vs. Kansas Odds

The Kansas Jayhawks represent the last remaining No. 1 seed in the 2022 NCAA Tournament. Head coach Bill Self’s team has automatically become the favorite to win the national title in many sportsbooks.

But we can’t just suppose that Kansas will win the title. First, he has to get past head coach Jim Larrañaga and the Miami Hurricanes.

Admittedly, Miami didn’t have the toughest road to the Elite 8. After a close game against USC, Miami overtook Auburn and then crushed a pitiful team from Iowa State.

So does that mean Kansas is more battle-tested? Or, is Miami more talented than its 10 seeds suggest?

As of this writing, Miami is grabbing six or more runs in the betting market with a total of 147.5.

Kam McGusty is definitely something.

He’s a true three-tier scorer shooting 70% from the rim, 43% from the midrange and 35% from 3. McGusty is also rock solid with the basketball, shoots plenty of fouls and converts 81 % of his free throw attempts.

But it’s not just McGusty; the whole Miami Hurricanes team is on the ball. The ‘Canes rank sixth in offensive turnover rate and seventh in stealless turnover rate – still getting shot.

This shot usually goes in too. The Canes rank in the top 30 nationally in effective field goal percentage (53.8%) and rank in the top 25 in 2-point shooting (55%). The latter is particularly important, as almost all of Miami’s shots come from inside the arc.

However, the Hurricanes’ defense is a problem:

  1. Miami doesn’t excel at contested shots, allowing opponents to average 52.5% effective field goal percentage (283rd in Division-I).
  2. The Hurricanes also allow the majority of the opposition’s shot attempts either at the edge or from the 3-point line, producing an 83% edge-and-3 defensive rate (ranks 290th in Division-I).
  3. Miami also bounces poorly at both ends of the court, ranking 319th in offensive rebounding rate and 271st in defensive rebounding rate.

Suddenly, the Canes score a lot of points … and grant a lot of points.

Image credit: CBB Analytics

Nonetheless, Miami’s defense isn’t without its strengths either. For example, it creates many turnovers – ranking 10th nationally in defensive steal rate.

The Hurricanes’ ability to avoid turnovers offensively and create turnovers defensively allowed them to lead the ACC in turnover margin (+4.66). For perspective, NC State ranked second in the conference with a measly +2.66.

Miami defends aggressively and leverages steals in order to transition out — something the Canes do with top-80 frequency nationally.

The transition is of the utmost importance as Miami is the most efficient transition team in the country, scoring 1.22 PPP in open court. Kansas doesn’t allow many shots in transition, but is also poor in efficiency when defending against him.

Miami’s other offensive option is to shoot from the midrange, which Kansas is very good at defending. Thus, Larrañaga and co. better find ways to make the soil work.

Kansas is truly an elite basketball team, but not for the reasons one might expect.

People look at Kansas and see an offensive juggernaut: a team that ranks sixth in offensive efficiency with Ochai Agbaji on the perimeter and David McCormack inside.

Interestingly, though, Kansas doesn’t handle many offensive sets well. Jayhawks are sub-200 in pick-and-roll efficiency, off-screen efficiency, cut efficiency, and isolation efficiency.

But Kansas has shooters, and those shooters take smart shots. According to ShotQuality, the Jayhawks are 26th nationally in shot selection and fifth in offensive SQ PPP (1.27).

Kansas is an effective display, an effective shot from 3, and Agbaji, Christian Braun, Jalen Wilson and Remy Martin are killers offensively. The ‘Hawks attack the rim, and there’s hardly any area of ​​the floor where these guys can’t find points:

Image credit: CBB Analytics

Kansas also crushes the offensive glass behind McCormack, who is one of the few players who can follow Oscar Tshiebwe onto the offensive glass. Additionally, the Jayhawks finished third in the Big 12 in transition efficiency.

Defense is great too…but not really against ball-screening sets. Instead, the team plays analytically smart, running everyone off the 3-point line. The ‘Hawks allow the 56th-lowest 3-point rate against opponents while pacing the Big 12 in catch-and-shoot defense and dribble 3s.

The Jayhawks are talented, but they play smart, which is more important to me.

I can’t wait to see if Remy Martin can maintain that scorching pace. Injuries have held him back this season, but he’s now scored in double figures in five consecutive games. During the Jayhawks’ NCAA Tournament, Martin scored a combined 58 points and earned MVP KenPom honors in all three games.

Of all the shooters on this list, he might be the deadliest.

Miami vs Kansas betting picks

Kansas can get Miami off the 3-point line, but Miami won’t shoot from the 3.

Instead, Kansas will force Miami into the midrange, where it will have defensive success. But the Jayhawks could be vulnerable on the inside otherwise.

Miami ranked first in the ACC in edge shot frequency and second in edge shot efficiency. In the Big 12, Kansas allowed over 40% of opposing shots via rim finishes and finished eighth defending those shots.

Plus, Kansas isn’t immune to offensive turnovers. The Jayhawks were below 110 nationally in offensive turnover this season, so Miami can find transition opportunities there.

I think this line slightly underestimates Miami. The Hurricanes have the personnel and the style of play to keep up with Kansas in a tournament setting.

Miami went 8-2 ATS as an underdog this season. I’ll take it to cover one more time. There’s a misplaced +6.5 in the market, but I’ll buy Miami at +6 or better.

Take: Miami +6.5 (Play up to +6)