Sunday Title Games
March 17, 2013
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NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS (24-9) vs. MIAMI (FL) HURRICANES (26-6)
Sportsbook.ag Line: Miami -2.5
No. 9 Miami tries to capture the title in its first ACC Tournament Championship game appearance Sunday when it faces a North Carolina team that will make its 32nd appearance in this conference final.
The Tar Heels had an easy win in the quarterfinals over Florida State (83-62), but nearly blew a 13-point lead with 11:28 remaining against Maryland on Saturday before hanging on for a 79-76 win. Although the Hurricanes won each of their two conference tourney games by double-digits, they did trail Boston College at halftime of Friday's eventual 69-58 win. Miami's 81-71 win over NC State improved the team to 12-5 SU (9-5-2 ATS) in non-home games this season. Carolina has also played well outside of Chapel Hill with a 10-7 SU (9-7 ATS) record. UNC is 8-1 SU (7-2 ATS) in its past nine games, but that doesn't include an 87-61 blowout loss at Miami on Feb. 9. The 'Canes also beat Carolina on the road on Jan. 10, prevailing 68-59. But before this regular-season series sweep, Miami had lost 10 straight meetings with UNC.
North Carolina is an outstanding offensive basketball team, and has posted 81.0 PPG during its two ACC Tournament wins. SG P.J. Hairston has 17.0 PPG in Greensboro, making 5-of-6 threes in Friday's quarterfinals. Junior swingman Reggie Bullock has also been tremendous with 16.0 PPG on 13-of-21 FG (62%) and 5-of-12 threes. PF James Michael McAdoo has 12.5 PPG and 5.5 RPG in the two games, but has been in major foul trouble in both contests with nine fouls. Senior PG Dexter Strickland also has 12.5 PPG and 5.5 RPG in the two wins, knocking down 7-of-12 shots against Maryland, while freshman PG Marcus Paige has 8.5 PPG and 6.0 APG in the two games. While Bullock (14 pts, 7 reb) and Hairston (11 pts) played pretty well in the Feb. 9 loss at Miami, McAdoo (3-for-12 FG), Paige (1-for-9 FG) and Strickland (1-for-4 FG) all shot horribly. McAdoo and Paige were much better in the Jan. 10 home loss to the 'Canes, scoring 14 and 10 points, respectively, with a combined 11 rebounds. Bullock was just 4-of-16 that night, but did contribute six rebounds and five assists.
Miami enters this game with three losses in its past six contests, but the offense has steadily improved during its current three-game win streak with 62 points, 69 points and 81 points on Saturday. The team has three main scorers in PG Shane Larkin, PF Kenny Kadji and SG Durand Scott who all average more than a dozen points. Scott was the hero in the semifinal win over NC State with a career-high 32 points (12-for-18 FG, 5-of-8 threes) to go along with four assists, three rebounds and two steals. Larkin also had a big afternoon with 23 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals. This is Larkin's fourth 20-point game in the past six contests. Although Kadji made just 2-of-9 shots on Saturday, he still pulled down nine rebounds and had two blocked shots. He had been on fire in his previous five games with 18.6 PPG on 52% FG. Senior F/C Julian Gamble also pitched in with 10 points on a perfect 4-of-4 FG in the win over the Wolfpack. All four players have thoroughly enjoyed facing the defensively-challenged Tar Heels this season. Scott has a well-rounded 14.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 5.0 APG and 3.0 SPG in the two victories, and Larkin has pitched in 14.5 PPG, while dishing out nine assists in the Feb. 9 victory. Kadji has dominated the Heels this season with 17.5 PPG (62% FG), 7.5 RPG and 2.5 BPG, and Gamble has 22 points on 11-of-15 FG with 12 rebounds in the two meetings combined.
OLE MISS REBELS (25-8) vs. FLORIDA GATORS (27-6)
Sportsbook.ag Line: Florida -11
After a furious second-half comeback on Saturday, No. 13 Florida tries to cap off its SEC Tournament run with a victory over Ole Miss in Sunday's conference championship game.
The Gators overcame a 10-point deficit in the second half of Saturday's semifinal game to defeat Alabama 61-51. They are now 11-6 SU (9-8 ATS) in non-home games this season and 16-4 SU (11-9 ATS) in all SEC contests. One night after erasing a 14-point, second-half deficit in a two-point win over Missouri, Ole Miss turned a halftime tie into a 12-point victory over Vanderbilt in Saturday's semifinals, winning 64-52. The Rebels are now 4-0 SU (3-1 ATS) in their past four games since their shocking loss at 12-point underdog Mississippi State on March 2. These schools met just once this season, a 78-64 Florida win in Gainesville on Feb. 2, which gave the Gators their 11th win in the past 12 meetings in this series. However, the Rebels are 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings with Florida, including three straight covers.
Ole Miss has been relying heavily on SG Marshall Henderson in this SEC Tournament, as Henderson scored 27 of his team's 64 points on Friday, making 8-of-18 shots (4-of-12 threes). In Saturday's win, Henderson scored a game-high 23 points on 7-of-17 shooting (3-of-11 threes). But just as important for the Rebels in the win over Vandy was the play of starting forwards Reginald Buckner (15 points, nine rebounds) and Murphy Holloway (12 points, eight rebounds) who combined to make 11-of-16 FG, but just 5-of-15 free throws. Ole Miss has shot a horrible 52% from the line in this tournament, as Henderson is 13-of-15 and his teammates are just 14-of-37 (38%). PG Derrick Millinghaus scored 11 points on Friday, including the game-winning layup with 1.1 seconds left on the clock. But the 5-foot-10 freshman was held scoreless on Saturday, going 0-for-5 from the floor (0-for-4 threes). Ole Miss was two-man show in its loss at Florida on Feb. 2 as Henderson scored 25 points (7-of-11 threes) and Holloway scored 15 points and grabbed seven boards. But Holloway made just 5-of-16 shots that night, and SG Ladarius White was even worse at 2-of-10 FG. White hasn't been much better in Nashville with a 4-of-15 FG clip in the two SEC Tournament games.