No. 11 Syracuse takes on 2nd-seeded Duke in the NCAA tournament on Friday night. Both teams will be playing for a spot in the Midwest regional final on Sunday. The Blue Devils were able to take down Iona and Rhode Island in the first week while the Orange survived in three straight games decided by five points or less.
Orange generate nearly half their offense from foul line in victory
Not only does Syracuse consistently sneak into the big dance when they’re squarely on the bubble, but they thrive when their backs are against the wall. They took down Arizona State and the First Four and followed that up with upsets over TCU and Michigan State over the weekend. The most recent result was a 55-53 ugly upset over the Spartans. They were 10-point underdogs, but ended up prevailing despite hitting only 35.7 percent of their shots.
On the flipside, you have to credit the Orange’s defense for holding the 3rd-seeded team to just 25.8 percent shooting. Both teams were miserable from downtown, hitting a combined 9-of-45 attempts (Syracuse went 1-for-8). The lone player to make a 3-pointer was Oshae Brissett, who nearly finished with a double-double — 15 points and 9 rebounds. Overall, the Orange took advantage at the free throw line, converting 24-of-31 attempts.
Bagley III goes 80 percent from the field, helps Blue Devils coast again
Duke made their first week of the NCAA tournament relatively easy with blowout victories. Even though Rhode Island was a top-25 team in the AP poll most of the season, they were decimated in an 87-62 snoozer against the Blue Devils. The Rams were held to 39.7 percent shooting while the higher-seeded squad converted 56.9 percent of their field goal attempts and went 19-for-24 from the foul line — Rhode Island had just 13 attempts (and made five of them).
All five starters hit in double figures offensively for the Blue Devils. They were led by Marvin Bagley III (21.2 ppg, 11.3 rpg), who had 22 points on a very efficient 8-of-10 shooting and collected nine rebounds. He hasn’t been able to put up a double-double in the tournament just yet, but he has posted 21 or more points in four of his last five games. He’s hit 61.3 percent of his shots on the season and has been electric offensively.
- 7-1 ATS in their last 8 NCAA tournament games
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games against teams winning over 60%
- Not available
In this all-ACC matchup, both teams have split their last four meetings both straight up and against the spread. It’s a tough call considering the Orange have exceeded expectations but the Blue Devils are converting their high spreads frequently. In tournament play, however, it might be best to grab the points.
Syracuse loves to ugly things up, and that’s why they’ve thrived so much under pressure. For that reason, most of their neutral site games have gone under this season and it’s hit in 20 of their 34 total games this season with Vegas odds. It’s hard to go against that here.
- Under is 7-2 in Orange last 9 NCAA tournament games
- Under is 8-2 in Blue Devils last 10 overall