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The East Is Not A Beast For Indiana And Miami

Posted by Washington Tucker on 3/18/2013 6:56:45 PM

The East Region of the 2013 NCAA Tournament looks like a fairly straightforward draw for both the Indiana Hoosiers and the Miami Hurricanes on the road to the Elite Eight.

Favorite: Indiana Hoosiers

Online sports betting experts who have been tracking the college basketball season since November know that Indiana has held up over the course of the season. The Hoosiers have withstood the rigors of the Big Ten Conference, capturing the outright regular season championship and not sharing a piece of hardware with any other school. This team has not been airtight the past few weeks, losing three of its last six games, but in the Big Ten, a good team waits on the schedule just about every night. It's not as though Indiana has suffered any "bad" losses. Coach Tom Crean's team lost at Minnesota, an NCAA tournament team.

It lost at home to Big Ten Tournament champion Ohio State, and it lost to Wisconsin this past Saturday, a team that could very well make a deep run in March. Indiana has great inside-outside balance, with Cody Zeller holding the fort in the paint and Victor Oladipo providing great defensive energy and quickness on the wings. Indiana has a knockdown shooter in Jordan Hulls and a versatile forward in Christian Watford who can play in a post-up or face-up style. This is a hard team to match up against, and the Hoosiers have received teams in the first few rounds (North Carolina State, Temple, Syracuse) that should not challenge them. Only Miami is a real threat to IU in this region.

Teams In The Mix: Miami, Syracuse

Few college football betting experts thought that Oklahoma State would win the Fiesta Bowl in the 2011 season, and few college basketball betting experts ever could have imagined that Miami would win an ACC championship - both the regular season and the league tournament - in basketball before the football program ever won one. Yet, that's what has happened, as head coach Jim Larranaga, who led George Mason to the Final Four in 2006, has revived basketball at the collegiate level in South Florida, all while the Miami Heat have done the same for professional hoops. Miami has a veteran lineup, the reason it should be able to steer its way through the first few rounds. Matching up with Indiana will be difficult, but the Canes will relish that problem if they can get to the Elite Eight.

Syracuse has to be taken seriously simply because it has the kinds of shooters - James Southerland in particular - who, if they get hot, can make the Orange incredibly difficult to deal with. Syracuse has great length, which makes the Orange's 2-3 zone defense, a staple under head coach Jim Boeheim, so bothersome. Syracuse defends the rim really well, something that could come into play if it meets Indiana and Zeller in the Sweet 16. Syracuse is not a reliable shooting team as a whole, but if it has that one great night, it becomes a Final Four-caliber ballclub.

Outlook And Prediction

The best betting reason to take any team in the NCAA tournament is that it has the best matchups. Indiana got shipped to Washington, D.C. for the regionals, but it got a good draw in exchange. The Hoosiers are a team that is vulnerable to an opponent that can overpower it. Syracuse is not that kind of team in the Sweet 16, and Miami - while blessed with a brawny big man in Reggie Johnson - has not been getting good production out of Johnson in recent weeks. Even when Miami won the ACC Tournament this past weekend, the Hurricanes did not get much from Johnson.

They relied on perimeter shooting, and that's a dangerous recipe in March, when the opponents - and the arenas - become unfamiliar after two and a half months of playing solely within one conference. Indiana matches up well with Miami unless Johnson rediscovers himself. The odds are that Johnson won't, so take the Hooseiers to move to the Final Four.

College Basketball Betting Pick: Indiana To Win The East Region



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