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A Clash Of Equals Emerges As Golden Eagles Try To Fly Past The Canes

Posted by Washington Tucker on 3/26/2013 7:10:39 PM

A Clash Of Equals Emerges As Golden Eagles Try To Fly Past The Canes

By Washington Tucker

The Marquette Golden Eagles and the Miami Hurricanes both want a shot at Indiana in the Elite Eight. In order to get to that point, they must fight past each other on Thursday night in D.C.

Marquette Golden Eagles vs. Miami Hurricanes – Thursday, March 28

Online sports betting line: Miami -5.5

Why Marquette Will Win

Few college football betting experts thought that Kansas State would win the Big 12 last season, and few college hoops gurus thought Marquette would escape a big second-half deficit against Davidson in the round of 64, but here are the Golden Eagles in the Sweet 16.

The Golden Eagles find a way to win close games. This was true of the team when it played three straight overtime games two seasons ago and snuck into the NCAA tournament in a Big East Conference that had 11 teams in the field of 68. Last year, Marquette largely overachieved once again and made the Sweet 16 after fighting past Murray State in a contentious and thrilling round of 32 contest. This season, Marquette has somehow managed to get to the Sweet 16, even though it trailed the Davidson Wildcats by four points in the final 30 seconds of its round of 64 game, and then trailed Butler for much of a round of 32 clash before digging out a win in the final seconds.

Why does Marquette stand on such solid ground as tip-off time approaches? Vander Blue has been the kind of step-up crunch-time scorer that any NCAA Final Four contender needs at this time of year. Jamil Nelson has chipped in, to be sure, but Blue has scored loads of key baskets for the Golden Eagles in this tournament. He’s the chief reason why this team has managed to win two dogfights in the opening rounds of the East Region part of this event. Blue is a fearless player who wants the ball and craves the opportunity to take season-defining shots. With him on the floor, Marquette has a match for Miami’s Shane Larkin, a player who is cut from the same cloth.

The other thing to realize here is that Miami got out-rebounded by Illinois on the offensive glass, 15-12, this past Sunday. Marquette has a prime rebounder in the person of Davante Gardner, who has been playing at a much higher level in recent weeks than his counterpart, Reggie Johnson of Miami. If Gardner bests Johnson in the low post and the Blue-Larkin matchup is even, Marquette has a great chance of winning this game. At the very least, the Golden Eagles should be within one possession, either way, until the end of this contest.

Why Miami Will Win

The best betting reason to take the Hurricanes in this game is that they are blessed with more quality depth than Marquette. Each of these teams has struggled in its round of 32 game. Marquette and Miami were both swimming against the tide against Butler and Illinois, respectively, but both teams found a way to prevail. Miami, though, won because of contributions from multiple sources, whereas Marquette is primarily riding one hot player, Vander Blue, at the moment.

Miami got a big jumper from Larkin and some timely rebounds from Durand Scott and Kenny Kadji, plus 21 points from Rion Brown. In the ACC Tournament, Miami’s Trey McKinney Jones poured in a number of clutch three-pointers to power the Hurricanes to their first-ever championship in that event. Miami is getting more contributions from more players, and in March Madness, that generally determines the winning team in even-steven matchups such as this one.

Who Will Win

Ultimately, Miami has more options late in a game. It also has the better coach. Jim Larranaga is an extremely resourceful bench boss, one who will likely make better chess moves than Marquette's Buzz Williams.

College Basketball Betting Pick: Marquette

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