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Syracuse Villanova Betting – Teams That Started Strong Try To Survive Big East Grind

Posted by Washington Tucker on 2/6/2014 1:54:26 AM

The Villanova Wildcats and the Syracuse Orange didn’t lose many games in November or December, but they’ve both been roughed up in recent weeks.

NCAA basketball betting: Syracuse Orange @ Villanova Wildcats

Why To Bet On Syracuse

The sports betting world probably didn’t think Syracuse was going to stroll through the Big East this season, but after an 18-0 start, many betting experts probably didn’t think the Orange would basically be a .500 club in the conference by the middle of February. The cold hard facts tell a very inconvenient truth for SU: It has lost six of eight games from Jan. 17 through Feb. 12. It’s a startling turnabout for a team that has lost its ability to play the 2-3 zone the way Syracuse teams normally have done. The Orange rely on their 2-3 zone to force opponents into bad shots, but the guards in the 2-3 are not pinching effectively on shooters. The Cuse is being too passive on defense and is failing to make good responses to the ball.

One has to think, then, that Syracuse will figure out this issue before the season ends. Syracuse made a 20-5 run late in its Saturday loss at Louisville. The zone finally regained the activity and verve that has made SU a formidable team for most of the past three decades. Just a little extra defensive pressure and a few added seconds of concentration on each possession can transform this team into a March Madness threat.

Why To Bet On Villanova

Online betting experts have to wonder what’s happened to Villanova in recent weeks. Yet, for all of the Wildcats’ problems, Syracuse is having an even harder time at the office. The Orange might not face a crisis, but they’re certainly staring at an urgent situation they need to remedy before too long. It’s as though coach Jim Boeheim’s team needs to pick up a northern boy to come to Upstate New York in a deal before the NHL trade deadline. If there was an equivalent of NHL trade rumors in college basketball, they’d certainly focus on Syracuse’s 2011 deficiencies. Syracuse does not have the dynamic wings and shooters it possessed last season, when the Orange rolled to the Big East regular-season championship. Wesley Johnson was a jump-out-of-the-building forward who ran the break with lethal effectiveness. Guard Andy Rautins was a devastating long-distance shooter who could loosen up defenses. Syracuse has already shown that it won’t be nearly as prosperous this season against Villanova as it was last year; the Orange lost on Jan. 22 by a double-digit margin, and that game was in Syracuse. The Wildcats’ guards smoked Syracuse’s 2-3 zone defense that day, much as Louisville torched Syracuse on Saturday, Feb. 12. Villanova will continue to exploit Syracuse’s strongest points and function effectively at the offensive end of the floor. That’s the number one factor to consider in this contest, and it’s a primary reason why Villanova should definitely win this game on its home floor.

How The Game Will Play Out

The big question heading into the first matchup between these teams (in Syracuse) concerned the ability of Villanova’s backcourt to hit threes with regularity and bust the Syracuse zone. If the Wildcats continue to hit shots in this game and loosen up SU’s defense, the Orange’s advantage in the paint with Rick Jackson will be wiped away. Villanova has already proven itself to be the better team in this matchup, and that was on the Orange’s home floor. The story won’t be any different in Philadelphia. Take Villanova by all means.

Syracuse Villanova Betting Pick: Villanova

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