T-Mobile Center and Kansas City host the 2023 NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen Midwest Region participants as each team looks to advance to Sunday’s Midwest Region Final.
No. 5 seed Miami Hurricanes open Friday’s Sweet 16 Midwest Region against No. 1 seed Houston Cougars, followed by No. 3 seed Xavier Musketeers meeting No. 2 seed Texas Longhorns.
IL Betting sports betting analyst Phil Naessens previews both Friday night contests and has a terrific Caesars promotion for Illinois sports bettors to enjoy.
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Miami Hurricanes vs. Houston Cougars
The Miami Hurricanes are a +7.5 underdog with a 138-point total when they meet the Houston Cougars. Tipoff is 7:30 pm, and the game is televised on CBS.
We have two teams with contrasting play styles, and my best bet is Under 138 -110 at Caesars.
- Houston allowed the 2nd-fewest points per game in the college game and topped the American Athletic Conference in many defensive categories.
- Miami is 25th in scoring and boasts the top effective field goal and three-point percentage in the ACC.
- Tempo is going to play a factor in this game–Houston plays the slowest pace in the country, while Miami plays at an above-average pace.
- A groin injury has hampered cougars leading scorer Marcus Sasser–Sasser played 31 minutes last Sunday against Auburn but missed all but 23 minutes over the previous two contests.
- Under is 6-1 in the Hurricanes’ last 7 NCAA Tournament games
- Under is 4-1 in Cougars’ last 5 NCAA Tournament games
Phil’s Best Bet: Houston Under 138 -110 at Caesars
The Cougars play at a snail’s pace, and they’ll dictate the tempo Friday. Sasser gutted it out last week against Auburn, but who knows if the groin injury will flare up?
Miami is a high-scoring team, but Houston has a legit defense–the Cougars topped the conference in opponents shooting percentages inside and outside the arc.
I think this game will be closer than the oddsmakers suggest–Houston should be leading down the stretch, but they are a sketchy free-throw shooting team. Look for a low-scoring war on Friday. Phil’s Best Bet: Houston Under 138 -110 at Caesars
Xavier Musketeers vs. Texas Longhorns
Xavier is a +4 underdog with a 149-point total when they face Texas at 9:40 pm on CBS.
Texas is playing strong basketball, and my best bet is Texas -4 110 at Caesars.
- Xavier is 10th in the nation in scoring, led the Big East in three-point shooting percentage, and was 2nd in the conference in offensive efficiency.
- Texas surrendered the 91st most points per game but was 7th in the Big-12 in free-throw rate and opponents’ three-point shooting percentage.
- Xavier ranked 7th in defensive efficiency but had the 2nd best opponent offensive rebound and two-point field goal percentage.
- Texas led the Big 12 in turnover and free-throw shooting percentage and was 2nd in offensive efficiency, effective field goal, and three-point shooting percentages.
- Musketeers are 2-6 ATS in their last eight games following an ATS win.
- Longhorns are 6-0-1 ATS in their last seven games overall
Phil’s Best Bet Texas -4 -110 Caesars
Texas is firing on all cylinders–they won the Big-12 Conference Tourney and have covered the spread in their postseason tourney games.
Xavier is a strong basketball team, but they are 2-3 ATS over their last five and face a team that not only is rolling the competition but also covering the spread.
The Musketeers can shoot the ball, but the Longhorns have the edge in experience with a better turnover rate. Phil’s Best Bet Texas -4 -110 Caesars