NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Best Bets: Midwest Region (Friday)

Mar 22, 2023 - 2:17 PM

The first two rounds of the 2023 NCAA Tournament were pure madness, with more upsets than ever appearing to happen everywhere. After a little break, let’s examine in more detail the two Midwest Region games scheduled for Friday’s Slate.

Here are betting previews and picks for Sweet 16 matchups.

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Friday’s Best 2023 NCAA Tournament Midwest Region Bets

(Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook)

(1) Houston (-7) vs. (5) Miami | Total 138

On Friday, a Sweet 16 matchup between the No. 1 Houston Cougars (33-3) and the 5-seed Miami Hurricanes (27-7) will tip off in Las Vegas as one team looks to continue its 2023 journey while the other heads home.

The USA TODAY Sports Coaches Poll had Miami at No. 15 in the country to end the regular season, as the Hurricanes went on and defeated Drake and Indiana in the Midwest bracket. With those wins, they have an 11-2 record since Jan. 31 and an 81.4 point per game scoring average over that span.

The Cougars are the top-ranked team in the country and have won their first two tournament games, despite playing with little offensive effectiveness. This was mainly a result of their stellar defense. Houston limited their two opponents to a 32% field goal shooting percentage.

Knocking off a very well-rounded Indiana team on Sunday night, I’m not sure this Miami team is getting the credit it deserves. While Houston continues to struggle offensively, I like for the Hurricanes to keep this one close.

The pick: Miami +7 (-110)

(2) Texas (-4) vs. (3) Xavier | Total 148.5

The Sweet 16 of the 2022–23 NCAA Tournament begins on Thursday, and on Friday, the 2-seed Texas Longhorns and 3-seed Xavier Musketeers will play in an exciting Midwest Region clash.

On Saturday, Texas defeated No. 10 Penn State 71-66 thanks to a strong first half. In the meantime, Xavier beat No. 11 Pittsburgh 84-73 to make it to the Sweet 16.

Although Xavier’s attack has been excellent this season, Texas will prevent them from scoring at will, unlike their opponents have thus far. The Longhorns have kept their last six opponents to a 58.2 PPG average while allowing just 67.2 PPG on the season. Over that time, they totally shut down opponents like TCU and Kansas, demonstrating the Longhorns’ ability to handle top opposition.

With the offensive talent present on both sides, I’m anticipating some first-half adjustments to be needed, but I give Texas a much bigger edge. If they can contain Xavier in the first 10 minutes, look for them to settle in, find their shots and pull away late.

The pick: Texas -4 (-110)

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