There was only one Florida-based university that earned a spot in this year’s March Madness. They were an underdog to get this far, but they won their first two games of the NCAA tournament and are in the Sweet 16.
As a 10-seed, the University of Miami eked out a 68-66 opening-round victory over No. 7 USC. Subsequently, the Hurricanes routed No. 2 Auburn in the second round by a 79-61 margin.
After dispatching two single-seeded teams from the tournament, Miami is actually ranked higher than their Sweet 16 opponent. In a battle of the double-digit seeds, Miami will face off against No. 11 Iowa State on Friday night.
Sportsbooks think Miami will move on in March Madness
Sports bettors are favoring Miami to get through to the Elite. Most sportsbooks are listing the Hurricanes as moneyline favorites at -150.
However, the odds on the Cyclones indicate that most of the best sports betting apps don’t necessarily think it’s slam dunk Miami victory. Iowa State is just a +120 underdog.
In fact, the point spread further indicates the sentiment as the ‘Canes are favored by just 2.5 points.
If prop bets are more your cup of tea, the over/under for the combined point total between both teams is 133.5.
Miami averages 66.4 points per game and Iowa State puts up about 65.9 per contest. If you add both of their average scores, it totals 132.3 points. As a result, picking the over/under seems like one of the tougher bets to make in this game.
Hurricanes and Cyclones have striking similarities en route to Sweet 16
Several college basketball analysts re-ranked the final 16 teams remaining in this year’s March Madness. Analysts were basically in complete agreement that Iowa State and Miami were fthe 14th and 15th best teams remaining.
Saint Peters College, 2022’s Cinderella story in the Sweet 16 as a 15-seed, was the only team ranked behind them.
And just like Miami, Iowa State squeaked out a win in the first round before sending a title contender home in the second. The Cyclones got the best of Louisiana State University in the first round and beat No. 3 Wisconsin in the second by a score of 54-49.
The only real difference was the margin of victory between the two second-round upsets. Miami pummeled Auburn while Iowa State squeaked by the Badgers.
Hurricanes on verge of most successful March Madness in program history
If Miami emerges victorious, it would be the most successful March Madness run in program history. This year is the fourth time the ‘Canes were in the third round, having gotten this far in 2000, 2013 and 2016.
But the program has an 0-3 record in the Sweet 16. A win against the Cyclones would give the men’s basketball program its first Elite Eight appearance.
While Iowa State made the Elite Eight, it was just once and the program’s resume isn’t much better than Miami’s.
This is the Cyclones’ sixth Sweet 16 appearance. Although Iowa State technically made the Elite Eight twice and the Final Four once.
But it’s a bit disingenuous to use those phrases. The Cyclones advanced to the Final Four in 1944, joining Utah, Dartmouth and Ohio State.
However, in 1944, only eight teams made the tournament. Winning a single game got teams to the Final Four and simply earning a spot in the tournament put them into the Elite Eight. Making a deep run during the early days of the NCAA tournament doesn’t carry the same weight as navigating through the modern era of March Madness.
The winner of Friday’s game will face off against either top-seeded Kansas or No. 4 Providence College in the Elite Eight.