North Carolina-Miami Highlights NCAA Basketball Weekend Live Betting
The University of Miami was added to the Athletic Coast Conference back in the mid-2000s because the ACC thought the Hurricanes would raise the conference's football profile. Sure, Miami had a basketball program, but it was expected to be an afterthought in the powerful ACC. Yet should the Hurricanes finish off a regular-season sweep of North Carolina in Coral Gables on Saturday, UM could have a clear path to its first ACC title.
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Miami was ranked No. 8 in this week's Associated Press poll, tying the highest ranking ever for the school (set way back in 1960). The Hurricanes proved worthy on Tuesday night in routing Boston College 72-50 to improve to 18-3 overall and 9-0 in the ACC. Those nine wins tie the school record for ACC victories in a season, and UM remains the only unbeaten team in league play among the BCS conferences. The 9-0 start in ACC play is the first by a team other than Duke or North Carolina since Ralph Sampson's Virginia team in 1981. Despite the incredible start, Miami is 20/1 at Bovada to win the school's first basketball national title.
Don't bet against Miami at home, either. It is 10-0 at its on-campus arena and a perfect 8-0 ATS. Coach Jim Larranaga's team has beaten its past three visiting opponents by 27 (Duke), 24 (Florida State) and then 22 (BC). Miami has a seven-game ACC home winning streak dating to last year, but its last loss came to North Carolina, 73-64 on February 15, 2012.
The Heels (16-6, 6-3) enter Saturday's matchup having won three straight and six of seven. North Carolina got key reserve P.J. Hairston back from a concussion in Tuesday's 87-62 blowout of Wake Forest. It was a season high for points in an ACC game for North Carolina, which is among the top six scoring teams in the nation. Hairston finished with 11 points in 12 minutes. Star James Michael McAdoo had 20 points, marking the first time this season he has had consecutive games with at least 20. He was among the book's player of the year candidates back in November.
North Carolina lost 68-59 to Miami in Chapel Hill as a four-point favorite on January 10. It was the Hurricanes' third win in 21 games all-time against the Tar Heels. Miami, which ended a 10-game losing streak in the series, didn't have big center Reggie Johnson in that meeting due to injury. He's back, averaging 9.8 points and 9.1 rebounds this season and is an immovable force in the paint. Two of Miami's three losses this season were when Johnson sat out.
Should the Hurricanes win Saturday, they likely would be underdogs once for the rest of the regular season (March 2 at Duke) as they look to possibly run the table in the ACC. The Blue Devils are two games behind Miami in the ACC and already lost that first head-to-head matchup in a blowout.
Other Weekend Live Betting Games
*-Saturday, No. 3 Michigan at Wisconsin: The Wolverines lost their spot atop the AP poll on Monday as well as their spot as the book's national title favorite (now third at 13/2) this week. Michigan could reclaim both with a win Saturday over the Badgers, one of the nation's best defensive teams.
Michigan (21-2) repaid one of its two losses this season on Tuesday night, 76-74 at home in overtime against Ohio State thanks to 23 points from Tim Hardaway Jr. The 76 points were the most allowed this season by the Buckeyes. Saturday is the only scheduled regular-season meeting between Michigan and Wisconsin. The Badgers (15-7) are the lone team in the nation to have played seven Top 25 teams so far, and they have won three of them. Teams hate facing Wisconsin because of their grind-it-out style. UW leads the Big Ten in scoring defense and ranks 11th in the nation.
Michigan hasn't won in Madison since 1999, but thanks to No. 2 Florida's blowout loss in Arkansas on Tuesday the Wolverines could return to No. 1 should top-ranked Indiana lose Thursday at Illinois or Sunday at Ohio State. The Gators and Hoosiers currently are 13/2 co-favorites at Bovada to win the national title.
*-Saturday, No. 5 Kansas at Oklahoma: The Sooners (14-7, 5-4 Big 12) are squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble, so a win over the Big 12-leading Jayhawks would be huge for their resume. Oklahoma has picked a bad time to struggle, losing two straight and four of six. One of those was 67-54 at Kansas on January 26. OU has lost 10 straight to Kansas dating to 2006.
*-Sunday, St. John's at No. 9 Syracuse: This is scheduled to be the final matchup between the Big East charter members, but it won't be the end of the rivalry. Syracuse is off to the ACC next season and St. John's is part of the Catholic 7 leaving the Big East to form its own basketball conference. SJU and SU have agreed, however, to schedule a home-and-home series starting next year. The Orange have dominated their in-state rival in recent years, winning seven straight and 13 of the past 14.
*-Sunday, No. 4 Duke at Boston College: Do you believe in "sandwich" trap games? This could be one for Duke. The Blue Devils, who remain without injured forward Ryan Kelly, have a big game Thursday night at home against NC State. Then next Wednesday, Duke hosts North Carolina in college basketball's top rivalry. Boston College is just 1-10 against Duke since joining the ACC, however.
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