The Texas Longhorns are the only of the one and two-seeds to make the Elite Eight and will battle the Miami Hurricanes in Kansas City on Sunday for a spot in the Final Four.
Miami Hurricanes and Texas Longhorns (-4, 149)
The Longhorns had a winter of turmoil with the off-court situation involving then-coach Chris Bears in December that resulted in a parting of ways in January with former UTEP head coach Rodney Terry stepping into the interim role.
It resulted in growing pains for Texas’ defense with the team allowing at least 69 points in 10 of their 12 games from December 21 through the end of January.
The transition to Terry’s style has since yielded great results as Texas is playing their best defense of the season, ranking 23rd in points allowed per possession and has allowed 71 points or fewer in seven straight games.
By comparison, Miami is 185th in points allowed per possession with at least 69 points allowed in 13 of their last 15 games and on offense have to protect against a Texas defense that is 11th nationally in turnovers forced on a per possession basis in games played away from home.
The Longhorns had starting forward Dylan Disu, who averages 9.1 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, leave the team’s game against Xavier in the first half due to a leg injury, but Texas has the depth to overcome it with nine different players averaging at least 11.7 minutes per game this season.
Even if Disu, who’s going to be a game-time decision, does not play, Texas has the advantage of going against an interior defense that has had issues even with the addition of Norchad Omier, who’s averaging 13.3 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game.
Miami is 240th in the country in opponent 2-point shooting percentage while Texas gets 55.8% of their points from made 2-point shots in games played away from home, which is the 59th-highest percentage out of 363 Division I teams.
The revamped defense of Texas has resulted in a 7-0-1 against the spread record for the Longhorns and will be what propels them to a Final Four appearance.
The Play: Texas -4
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