Daniel Evans and Blake Hofstad are previewing every game of the NCAA Tournament. Check out all of their previews here.
Miami has been a big surprise this year, thanks to the reemergence of Kenny Kadji and spectacular play by point guard Shane Larkin. Larkin has been unbelievable, making 40% of his threes, scoring on nearly 50% of his shots, and making 76% of his free throws. Now, the real test starts though. Miami was the underdog, the “feel good story” all year, but now they have a target on their back. We saw two versus fifteen upsets last year. Tigers guard Lorenzo McCloud’s figures are almost the same as Larkins. He can keep the Tigers in this game for a while. Remember, Miami has already lost to a 15 seed this year (Florida Gulf Coast). Despite all that buildup, I’ll boringly go with the ‘Canes to win a game that will be closer than you expect.
Blake’s Take: Miami is a trendy Final Four pick this year, and who can blame the people taking the Hurricanes to go all the way? The ACC regular season champ stormed through the conference tournament as well, and no one wants to be the person with all four 1 seeds in their Final Four. But I think Miami may struggle to get by Pacific. The Tigers have an experienced roster and shoot the three ball extremely well, two characteristics of a team capable of pulling a huge upset. In addition, coach Bob Thomason is retiring after the season. The coaching legend has more wins than anyone else in Big West history. What better way for his seniors to send him off than by busting brackets across the country? The safe pick here is Miami, and that’s what I have in my bracket. But if you’re looking for a 15 over a 2 upset, this is it.