COLLEGE PICKS AGAINST SPREAD
Welcome to our College Picks Against Spread. We will be analyzing and previewing an NCAA Tournament First 4 game. The match-up is between Arizona State and Syracuse. Both teams are seeded 11th in the Mid-West Region. At the end of the article we will be making our pick, which is always against the spread. Here is our first NCAA Tournament edition of College Picks Against Spread.
(11) Arizona State (20-11) Vs (11) Syracuse (20-13) Mid-West Region
Wednesday, March 14th, 9:10pm (ET)
Location : University of Dayton Arena, Dayton, Ohio
Spread : Arizona St -1.5
Article written by Chris Petraccoro
The Pac-12 and ACC will clash in the round of the First Four on Wednesday night. Arizona State and Syracuse will face-off with the winner advancing to play TCU on Friday. Both teams enter the tournament limping in with the Sun Devils losing 5 of 6 and the Orange losing 4 of 6. Arizona State started the season 12-0, reaching #3 in the country before dropping 11 of their last 19 games. Two big wins propelled the Sun Devils into this tournament. Beating Xavier handedly on a neutral court 102-86 on November 24th and handing Kansas a home loss 95-85 on December 10th. Syracuse has 2 wins over teams that finished the season ranked. They beat Clemson 55-52 at the Carrier Dome March 3rd, and defeated Miami on the road 62-55 on February 17th.
The Sun Devils head Coach Bobby Hurley is no stranger to march madness as he won back to back titles as a player at Duke. He will be looking for his first tournament win as a coach in this one. After posting two losing records he has garnered a tournament bid in year 3. Hurley did lead Buffalo to its first NCAA tournament appearance in 2014-2015 as a #12 seed giving West Virginia all they could handle before losing 68-62.
The Sun Devils features a trio of veteran guards led by Seniors Tra Holder (18.4ppg/3.4apg), Shannon Evans II (16.6ppg/3.5apg) and Kodi Justice (12.6ppg). The three combine for a staggering 19.9 3point FG attempts per game. Facing the Syracuse vaunted 2-3 zone the Sun Devils accuracy from distance will be a decisive factor in the outcome of this game. Watch out for freshman forward Romello White ( 10.7ppg, 7.2rpg). The former highly touted recruit will need to have a big game against the front-line of the Orange
Syracuse displays Sophomore Guard Tyus Battle (19.8ppg/3.1apg), Fr., Forward Oshae Brissett (14.7ppg/8.8rpg) and Jr., PG Frank Howard (15ppg/5apg). All three figure to be drafted in the 2019 NBA Draft. The Orange have been disappointing on the offensive side, averaging only 67.5ppg, although they do limit their opponents to only 64.5ppg.
The last time Syracuse were in the tournament in 2016 they stunned the country advancing all the way to the final four as a #10 seed. Jim Boeheim has patrolled the Syracuse sidelines since 1976 and has led the Orange to 3 title games including cutting down the nets in 2003. Boeheim was able to beat Arizona St 78-67 in the 2009 round of 32.
The Sun Devils ability to score (83.5ppg) figures to be a key advantage in this one. Looking for their first tournament win since 2009, we like Arizona State to get by Syracuse in a close game.
OUR PICK: TAKE ARIZONA STATE -1.5
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