Syracuse Orange Odds to Win the 2014 NCAA Tournament with Picks and Predictions
by George Monroy - 3/18/2014
The Syracuse Orange took a huge tumble down the rankings during the last three weeks of the regular season, and as recently as Feb. 18 they were the No. 1 team in the nation and had sports fans everywhere talking about the possibility of running the table. Unfortunately, five losses in seven games and an early exit from the ACC tournament left the team in the 14th overall spot in the AP rankings and with a No. 3 seed in the South region of the 2014 NCAA Tournament .
Syracuse is still on the short list of teams favored to win the national title, but it has taken a beating in its overall perception heading into the tournament. However, the reality-check that Syracuse received over the last month of the season might be just the type of adversity the team needed to help it regroup and make a deep run. Let's take a closer look at Syracuse' odds to win the 2014 NCAA Tournament with predictions, picks and analysis.
Syracuse 2014 NCAA Tournament Story Lines
Syracuse is set to face Western Michigan on Thursday, March 20, and then it will play again two days later against the winner of Ohio State vs. Dayton-if the team wins its first matchup, of course. The Orange took an early exit from the AAC tournament with a three-point loss against North Carolina State on Friday where they again looked lethargic and out of sync for most of the matchup.
Coach Jim Boeheim's squad may have peaked during the early part of the season and has not been the same dominant team since its first loss of the season last month. Syracuse managed to score only 63 points during its ACC game against NC State on 18-of-55 shooting from the field. The only bright spot for the team was freshman guard Tyler Ennis' excellent 21-point, five-rebound, seven-assist and four-steal performance.
Syracuse had a chance to tie the game during a crazy possession at the end of regulation but missed six shots-yes, six-during the final 24 seconds of the game, which included four rush three-pointers. The former No. 1 team in the nation will have had six days to regroup and center itself before the start of the tournament.
Syracuse 2014 NCAA Tournament Odds and Key Trends
Syracuse is currently receiving the 10th-best 2014 national title odds at +2000 andopened as a 12.5-point favorite over Western Michigan at Sportsbook.ag. Syracuse finished the year with a 14-12-2 overall ATS record and a 10-15-2 totals record. The squad struggled to cover spreads toward then end of the year and had a 3-6-1 ATS record over its final 10 games before the NCAA Tournament. Syracuse also had a 1-3 ATS record during its last four double-digit games as the favorite.
The No. 3 seed in the South region was the ninth-best defensive squad in points allowed with only 59.5 per game and 30th rebounds allowed per game with 27.9. Syracuse also held its opponents to only 41.2 percent shooting from the field. On offense the squad averaged only 68.2 points per game but did receive solid production from C.J Fair, who averages 16.7 points per game, and Ennis, who 12.7 points and 5.6 assists per game.
Syracuse 2014 NCAA Tournament Picks and Predictions
Syracuse might be a bit underrated as a No. 3 seed in the South region, and after its matchup against Western Michigan it could potentially face Ohio State and then a New Mexico or Kansas Squad in the Sweet 16. The team does not have a tough road to get into the Elite Eight and could make potentially make a deep run, especially if Kansas gets knocked off early.
The Orange are still one of the best teams in the nation and have value at +2000 odds. The trouble for them is that they will probably run into a tough Kansas Jayhawks team and then an elite Florida Gators squad if they can make it that far. Expect Syracuse to get eliminated in the third round and finish off a season that could have been so much more.
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