Miami vs. Iowa State Prediction: Expect Iowa State's Defense to Thrive

In the matchup of the 11 seed vs 10 seed, who comes out on top? Will it be Miami or will it be the strong defense of Iowa State that wins it tonight?
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Miami vs. Iowa State Prediction: Expect Iowa State's Defense to Thrive

The battle of weather (Cyclones and Hurricanes) and the lowest combined seeding matchup in the Sweet Sixteen tips off from the United Center in Chicago, Illinois, tonight at 10:00 P.M. EST.

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Miami vs. Iowa State Prediction

The Miami Hurricanes made light work of #2 Auburn in a 79-61 win last Sunday and look to make their first trip to the Elite Eight under head coach Jim Larranaga. This will be their third Sweet Sixteen, but they have yet to make it to the next round under Larranaga. Meanwhile, Iowa State played an absolute defensive masterpiece in their 54-49 win over #3 Wisconsin on Sunday.

Wisconsin hadn't been held below 50 points all season, so hats off to Iowa State. However, they get an excellent offensive team in Miami tonight, so they will have to repeat that effort to advance. This will also be Iowa State's third trip to the Sweet Sixteen in the last ten years, and they too have yet to advance. Someone will break their streak tonight because one has to move on. Can Iowa State stifle another offense, or can the Hurricanes weather the storm? Pun intended.

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What a ride for Iowa State this year. After three-straight quad-one wins and a 12-0 start, the Cyclones were ranked as high as eighth this year. They then finished the regular season 20-11 and 7-11 in conference play and outside the top-25. It's hard to blame them, though, since they played in one of the most challenging conferences in college basketball, the Big 12.

Overall, they had the eleventh hardest schedule and played 16 quad-one games in just 31 regular-season games. This team is talented, especially in the backcourt. Iowa State notched 19 and 17 turnovers in their first two tournament games and held their opponents to 37% and 29% from the field. Gabe Kalscheur and Izaiah Brockington excel at shutting down the opposing team's best scorers, and that will be Kameron McGusty and Isaiah Wong. If They shut them down like they did Johnny Davis, the Big 10 player of the year, Miami will be in for a long night.

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It's hard to mention the Hurricanes without bringing up Isaiah Wong or Kameron McGusty. The duo is averaging 33 points per game and has been phenomenal in the tournament. In the first two games, their combined stat lines were 34-9-3 against USC and 41-12-6 against Auburn. Not much was expected from this Miami team, though. They were picked to finish 12th in the ACC. They finished fourth. Miami also lost five transfers in the portal in the offseason, but the players who filled in have exceeded expectations. This prolific offense ranks 30th in effective field goal percentage and sixth in turnover rate on offense. This will make it difficult for any team to slow them down, but if any defense can do it, it would be Iowa State here.

Here's the thing; Numbers-wise, it looks like Miami should advance, but they've had two amazing shooting performances in the first two rounds, and they have been a poor defensive team all year. I tend to side with more robust defenses in close games because defense translates to big games more than offense. Iowa State has been putting on a clinic on defense most of the year, especially in the tournament.

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I love the matchup with two of Iowa State's best defenders (Kalscheur and Brockington) on the two leading scorers for Miami (McGusty and Wong). This pick on Iowa State relies on them actually making some shots because you have to score at the end of the day to win a game, but Iowa State has a few playmakers in Tyrese Hunter and Izaiah Brockington. Give me the points with the better defense and for Iowa State to give another lesson in defense.

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Miami vs Iowa State Pick

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Ben Rajavuori is a handicapper out of Minneapolis, MN. He has been creating sports content for almost four years now and is an expert in all things NFL, MLB, NBA, UFC, and NCAAB. Ben thrives on diving deep into statistics to find the best angle on every bet. You can follow him on Twitter @WeBeatTheSpread.

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