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Vermont vs Syracuse Picks – Orange Gear Up For Final Four Run

Posted by Washington Tucker on 3/19/2010 8:18:29 AM
NCAA Basketball Odds: Pick Syracuse

The week leading in to the March Madness tournament was a tough one for the Orange. After finishing the regular season with the best record in the Big East at 28-4, including atop the standings in conference play at 15-3, Syracuse suffered a huge upset 91-84 loss to number 15 Georgetown in the opening round of the Big East tournament. The top seeded team was outscored by 10 points in the second half, and also lost starting center Arinze Onuaku to a knee injury. The concern wasn’t as much that they lost, but how they lost. The Orange turned the ball over 11 times in the first half alone, and finished with 17 turnovers, looking out of sync and flustered at times against an opponent they had already beaten twice. Syracuse fell to the bottom of the rankings of the four number one seeds, and was appointed to the college basketball betting west bracket where it draws the Catamounts in the first round.

Vermont vs Syracuse betting odds: Syracuse
  • What: NCAA Basketball Betting
  • When: Friday March 19, 2010
  • Where: HSBC Arena, Buffalo, New York

The Vermont-Syracuse Storyline

Other than owning the single-A affiliate of the worst team in Major League Baseball last season, the people identify with sports on the college level in the state of Vermont. Their Catamounts finished 12-4 in the America East conference, one game back of Stony Brook for the regular season title, and 25-9 overall. The Seawolves didn’t make it for a conference tournament title rematch in the finals, so the Catamounts beat Boston University for the second time this season, 83-70. The automatic March Madness bid was a storybook ending to a rough week that included junior Even Fjeld losing his mother to cancer. The 6’9 forward didn’t have his best outing managing just nine points and six rebounds, but Marqus Blakely was at his best again dropping 24 to lead all scorers. The qualification in to the national title tournament is an accomplishment in itself for Vermont, where it will face a superior team in Jim Boeheim’s boys from the ‘Cuse.

A lot has been made about Syracuse having to go out west, but the Orange played from November through February without a loss on the road before eventually dropping a online betting decision at Louisville 78-68 in early March. Many critics have doubted their team’s ability to get to Indianapolis, but that will only make the Orange that much more motivated.

Offensive Matchups

If you want a blueprint for Syracuse’s book per head offensive prowess, look no further than its 95-77 win over ninth ranked Villanova, the route of a team tied for the second-best record in the conference. Wes Johnson led all scorers this year with an average of 16.0 points per game, in addition to 8.4 rebounds and just over two assists a game. Six other players contribute an average of over eight points per game, which is the type of balanced scoring needed to make a run in a national title tournament.

Marqus Blakely averaged 17.4 points per game, the highest mark of any Catamount. Vermont will never be confused as the most offensively gifted squad in the top-64, but they do get balanced scoring with all eleven players on the roster reaching the scoresheet for at least a point per game. The backcourt tandem of Maurice Joseph and Even Fjeld back up Blakely with a combined 24.7 points per game, but have not done a good enough job moving the ball as illustrated by their combined average of less than two assists a game.

Betting Edge: Syracuse

Defensive Matchups

The Orange held West Virginia, Notre Dame, Georgetown, and Marquette each to 71point totals in regular season wins over four of the six other top teams in the Big East. They allowed Villanova 77, but scored 95 for the easy victory. Those results are proof of head coach Jim Boeheim’s defensive strategy and his players’ ability to execute. The only team Syracuse struggled with defensively all season was Pittsburgh, one loss in which they allowed the Panthers 82, in a ten-point home loss. How their latest opponent will compare to the competition that they dominated in conference play will be a point of interest for college betting enthusiasts and the odds on college basketball.

Vermont did an excellent job of limiting teams all season, but that was in the America East conference against much lesser competition. How the Catamounts will attempt to handle the high-octane attack and balanced scoring of the Orange is perhaps the biggest question facing the team heading in to the first round contest. They will need to weather the storm early, since it is highly probable the Orange will come out firing. That’s a task that Vermont may not be ready to handle.

Betting Edge: Syracuse

Injuries

Syracuse will be without center Arinze Onuaku for at least the first game of the tournament. Onuaku averaged 10.5 points and 5.1 rebounds this year, and was a key piece both on offense and defense. Should he miss significant time, it will severely hurt his team’s chances of making it all the way.

The Catamounts have no significant injuries noted.

Betting Edge: Syracuse

Betting Predictions: Vermont vs Syracuse

The fact that Vermont was able to reach the March Madness national title tournament is an accomplishment in itself for a small school team that wasn’t even expected to be here following a second place regular season finish to Stoney Creek in the America East conference. So it doesn’t matter that his team has little to no chance of beating the top seeded Orange in the first round of what is projected to be a long tournament for Syracuse. Head coach Jim Boeheim has won four national titles already, and knows what it takes to go all the way, something that he feels this group already has. Whether or not they do make it to Indianapolis, they will make it past an inferior team and in to the second round.

Washington’s Pick: Syracuse

For more sports betting articles, check out the betonline.com Betting Edge daily.

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