Cincinnati at Syracuse Picks and College Basketball Odds
by Alan Matthews - 1/21/2013
If you like upsets in college basketball, the past week-and-a-half or so has been thrilling as five Top-5 teams have been knocked off. The latest was No. 1 Louisville, which will only spend one week at the top of the polls following the Cards’ 70-68 home loss to No. 6 Syracuse on Saturday. The Orange definitely have a claim to No. 1, but it’s unlikely they are able to jump that high as they didn’t receive a single first-place vote in last week’s AP poll – the other five teams ahead of them each got at least one. Duke, the only other team to beat Louisville this season, probably returns to the top spot.
This is the only regular-season game between Cincinnati and Syracuse, and, thus, could be the final meeting for quite a while if they don’t square off in the Big East Tournament. The Orange are headed to the ACC next season, and the Bearcats, well, really don’t know what the future holds with the uncertain state of the Big East. UC is practically begging the Big 12 and ACC for a spot. This game has a 3:30 p.m. tip because of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
Cincinnati at Syracuse Betting Story Lines
Syracuse (17-1, 5-0 Big East) has arguably the most improved player in the nation in guard Michael Carter-Williams. He had a steal and go-ahead dunk with 23 seconds left against Louisville and scored nine of his team's final 11 points, including the final four. MCW finished with 16 points, seven assists, four rebounds, four steals and two blocks. He is the third player with at least 16 points, seven assists and four steals in a win over the No. 1 team in the past 15 seasons. Carter-Williams, who has played his way into an NBA lottery pick, leads the nation in assists at 9.3 per game. SU has won seven straight and simply has Rick Pitino’s number, having won three in a row over Louisville. It was the Orange’s fourth win all-time vs. a No. 1 team.
Syracuse’s win was even more impressive considering arguably the team’s second-best player sat out. That would be senior forward James Southerland, who is tied for second on the team in scoring (13.6 points per game) and third in rebounds (5.2 rebounds per game). The school announced Jan. 12 that Southerland would not compete "until further notice" because of an eligibility issue. Reportedly the NCAA is investigating whether a tutor wrote a term paper for Southerland. An eligibility issue torpedoed the Orange’s NCAA title hopes last year when center Fab Melo had to sit and missed the Big Dance.
Cincinnati (16-3, 4-2) improved to 2-1 against ranked teams this year with a 71-69 home overtime win against Marquette on Saturday. Guard Sean Kilpatrick scored a career-high 36 points and had the game-winning left-handed layup with 4.3 seconds remaining in OT. That ended UC’s three-game home losing streak.
That win was made even more impressive because the Bearcats played without perhaps their best player, senior point guard Cashmere Wright. He sprained his right knee in Tuesday’s win over DePaul. Wright is No. 2 on the team in scoring (15.1 ppg) and leads in assists (3.7 per game), steals (1.9) and 3-point shooting (.442). Saturday was the first time UC took the floor without Wright since the 2009-10 season. Wright wasn’t ruled out until a few hours before Saturday’s game, so it’s probably 50-50 he returns for this one. With him sitting, Coach Mick Cronin scrapped his three-guard lineup and inserted forward Jermaine Sanders into the starting five, and he had six points in 20 minutes. But the primary beneficiary was backup point guard Ge’Lawn Guyn. Before Saturday, he had averaged11.4 minutes and 2.6 points. Against Marquette, Guyn got 30 minutes and missed all four shots from the field, finishing with two points.
These two met twice last season. In the regular-season matchup in the Queen City, the fourth-ranked Orange beat unranked Cincinnati, 60-53. That game was just two days after Syracuse had suffered its first loss – at Notre Dame -- after starting 20-0, a school record. It was also Jim Boeheim’s 877th win, which at the time moved him past Adolph Rupp into fourth all-time in NCAA history. Wright had 17 points to lead Cincinnati. The schools met again at Madison Square Garden in the Big East Tournament semifinals, and Cincinnati pulled off a 71-68 upset over No. 2 Syracuse. UC led by as many as 17 points in the first half and wouldn’t trail afterward, although the Orange cut it to one with around five seconds remaining. SU fans might not want the Orange to be the top seed again in this year’s Big East tourney. Syracuse has been so seven times and has yet to win the title.
Cincinnati at Syracuse College Basketball Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BetOnline, the Orange are 8.5-point favorites with the total at 130.5.. UC is 7-8 ATS (2-1 on road) and 3-9 “over/under”. SU is 10-4 ATS (6-2 at home) and 6-6 O/U.
Cincinnati is 1-4 ATS in past five Big East games and 0-5 ATS in past five after a win. Syracuse is 9-4 ATS in past 13 after a win. The under is 7-1 in UC’s past eight after a win. The under is 4-1 in Syracuse’s past five after an ATS win. The over is 4-1 in past five meetings in Syracuse. The Orange have covered in four of the past five meetings.
Cincinnati at Syracuse Picks and Betting Predictions
Expect a low-scoring game as both defenses love the zone. SU ranks No. 5 nationally in field-goal percentage defense at 35.8 and UC is No. 8 at 36.9. The Bearcats held Marquette to 13 points and 17.9 percent shooting in the first half Saturday.
Cincinnati has been excellent recently against ranked teams, winning 10 of its past 14. This one is tricky because I do believe the Orange are due for a major letdown. But if Wright doesn’t play, SU can totally focus on Kilpatrick. He was 11-for-23 against Marquette (with a whopping 14 3-point attempts). The rest of the team was 9-for-35.
When SU beats UC, it’s usually not close. Syracuse has an average margin of victory of 12 points in seven wins against Cincinnati since 2005. If Wright plays, I do like UC to cover. If not, take Syracuse. The under either way.
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