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Miami Hurricanes vs. Kansas Jayhawks Prediction: NCAA Tournament Elite Eight Preview

Miami Hurricanes vs. Kansas Jayhawks Prediction: NCAA Tournament Elite Eight Preview

Hurricanes look to upset the top-seeded Jayhawks to earn their first-ever trip to the Final Four

A spot in the Final Four is on the line in the Midwest Region with the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks taking on the Miami Hurricanes, the No. 10 seed making a surprising run to the regional final. The Hurricanes have taken out two higher seeds with victories over USC and No. 2 seed Auburn, and they pulled away from Iowa State to set up a matchup with the Jayhawks, the last No. 1 seed remaining in the NCAA Tournament.

Sunday should be a good day for college basketball as Kansas and Miami do battle in Chicago. Here is what you need to know about the matchup.

Midwest Region: No. 10 Miami Hurricanes (26-10) vs. No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks (31-6)

Time: Sunday, March 27 at 2:20 p.m. ET
Where: United Center (Chicago)
Spread: Kansas -6.0

Keys for Miami

The key for Miami has been the defense. Through the first three rounds of the NCAA Tournament, the Hurricanes have yet to allow a team to score more than 70 points in a game. Miami also has turned in one of the biggest shockers of the Tournament so far with an 18-point victory over Auburn. Miami has actually given up fewer points in each game in this Tournament, starting with 66 to USC, 61 to Auburn, and 56 to Iowa State on Friday.

The Hurricanes held the Cyclones to 36.8 percent shooting from the field, including just 4-for-22 (18.2 percent) from 3-point range, and forced them into 18 turnovers. Miami's scoring came from Kameron McGusty, who poured in 27 points (4-for-7 on 3-pointers), fellow guard Jordan Miller's 16 points (6-for-6 from the field), and forward Sam Waardenburg's 13 points, to go along with a team-high eight rebounds.

Keys for Kansas

The good news for Kansas is that the Jayhawks have already answered the call against a solid defensive team. In fact, one of the reasons KU managed to get by Providence in the Sweet 16 was because of its own defense, holding the Friars to 33.8 percent shooting (4-for-23 from 3-point range). The Jayhawks also survived a tough Round of 32 matchup with Creighton (79-72), so they know they can make the plays they need when in crunch time.

But Kansas will have to avoid getting caught up in any runs by Miami. The Jayhawks let a 13-point lead slip away against the Friars in the second half on Friday night. Kansas has players who can stop the opponent from capitalizing too much on any momentum shifts, which is what Remy Martin did with 23 points (7-for-13 from the field, 8-for-13 from the free-throw line) for the No. 1-seeded Jayhawks.

Final Analysis

There may be a little pressure on Kansas as the last remaining No. 1 seed in this NCAA Tournament, but it's nothing that is considered new for the program. But the Miami defense will give the Jayhawks some fits that will make for an ugly game at times. If the Hurricanes can create some turnovers and convert those opportunities into points, then Kansas will be in for a real battle all the way down to the final minute.

The Jayhawks will book their trip to the Final Four, but it will be anything but pretty.

Prediction: Kansas 67, Miami 62

— Written by Kevin McGuire, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @KevinOnCFB, on Instagram, and Like him on Facebook.