It’s a losers’ bracket matchup of the Battle 4 Atlantis on the college hardwood when the Pac-12 takes the floor against the ACC in an island paradise. The Arizona State Sun Devils are the “road” team as they make the trip to face the Syracuse Orange Thursday night. Arizona State was knocked off 75-63 by #6 Baylor in their opening round matchup Wednesday night. Syracuse was dropped 67-55 by VCU in their first-round tilt Wednesday afternoon in their most recent game. In the all-time series between the schools, Syracuse owns a 2-1 advantage and has won the last two meetings. That includes a 60-56 victory at the University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio in a First Four matchup of the NCAA Tournament in the most recent meeting on March 14, 2018.
Arizona State Sun Devils Hoping to RegroupArizona State had struggled against decent competition this season and that trend continued Wednesday. The Sun Devils were overmatched by #6 Baylor in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated, dropping to 2-3 on the year in the process. Arizona State led by as many as six in the first half and was even with 8:29 to go before getting outscored 22-8 to go into halftime down by 14. The Sun Devils were down as many as 22 in the second half and never got closer than 11 after intermission to wind up with the loss. Arizona State shot 35.7% from the field, including 10 of 27 from three-point range, and lost the rebounding battle 43-36. DJ Horne led the Sun Devils with 20 points in the loss.
The Sun Devils put up an average of 69 points per contest this season, putting them 241st in the nation in scoring offense. Arizona State hauls in 35.5 rebounds per game while dishing out 14 assists a night on the year. The Sun Devils are above average defensively so far as they are 99th in scoring defense by allowing 63.5 points per game this season. Kimani Lawrence is leading the team in scoring with 13.6 points plus 8.8 rebounds per game this season. Luther Muhammad (9.5 points, 3.5 rebounds) and Marcus Bagley (10 points, four rebounds) each are secondary scoring options. DJ Horne (11.6 points), Marreon Jackson, Jalen Graham, Alonzo Gaffney, Jay Heath, Jamiya Neal and Enoch Boakye are all averaging double-digit minutes a night for coach Bobby Hurley. Arizona State shoots 42.6% from the floor as a team this year. The Sun Devils drain 7.4 triples a night and shoot 29.7% of their long-range attempts. Arizona State is converting only 63.8% of their chances at the free throw line this season.
Syracuse Orange Try to Get Back Over .500Syracuse started the season with two straight wins before losing to Colgate at home. The Orange then flew to Nassau and struggled against VCU, taking a second straight loss to fall to 2-2 on the year. Against VCU, Syracuse led by five on multiple occasions in the first half, by six in the closing seconds of the half and by four at halftime. In the second half, the Orange gave up an 8-0 run to turn a two-point lead into a six-point deficit with 12:21 to play and never got closer than four the rest of the way. Syracuse shot 29% from the floor, including five of 23 from three-point range, but was hurt by 16 turnovers in the game. Buddy Boeheim led the Orange with 20 points in the loss.
Clean it up ❗ pic.twitter.com/O7eUAY6HVg— Syracuse Men’s Basketball (@Cuse_MBB) November 25, 2021
The Orange is averaging 85.7 points per game this season, which puts them 32nd in the nation in scoring offense. Syracuse collects 32.3 boards a night while the team is dishing out 18.7 assists per contest. The Orange has been below average defensively as they are 282nd in scoring defense by allowing 74.3 points a night. Buddy Boeheim leads the team with 20 points plus 3.3 assists per game. Joseph Girard III (16 points, five assists), Jimmy Boeheim (15 points, 7.8 rebounds) and Cole Swider (9.8 points, 6.5 rebounds) each are averaging in double figures. Jesse Edwards, Benny Williams, Frank Anselem and Symir Torrence are the other players logging any serious minutes on a consistent basis this season. The Orange is shooting 51.1% from the field as a team on the year. Syracuse is hitting 9.3 triples a night while shooting 43.1% from beyond the arc. The Orange has been good at the charity stripe, cashing in on 81.3% of their chances this season.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
One has to think that Syracuse isn’t going to be stifled the way they were by VCU in this contest. Arizona State, while they are decent defensively, isn’t a lockdown type of team that can win a rock fight. For that matter, Syracuse isn’t a defensive oriented team either. The Orange have plenty of weapons on the offensive end of the floor and they can outgun most teams on any given night. Arizona State continues to struggle against upper-level talent, as we’ve seen them lose to Baylor and San Diego State, in addition to falling to UC Riverside at home. Give the edge to Syracuse here as they get back in the win column.
Full-Game Total Pick
Arizona State plays at an above average pace themselves as they are 133rd in tempo with 69.8 possessions a night. The Sun Devils are 77th in offensive efficiency despite ranking just 223rd in effective field goal percentage (47.3%), 230th in three-point shooting and 214th in two-point shooting (47.6%) according to KenPom. Syracuse is 29th in offensive efficiency on the year, 103rd in effective field goal percentage (52.2%), 65th in three-point shooting and 13th in free throw shooting this season. The Orange are 145th in tempo with 69.7 possessions a night on the year. Look for these teams to push the pace and help this one edge over the number.