Syracuse vs North Carolina March Madness Odds Analysis

Posted by Aaron . on March 28, 2016 in

On Saturday night, the second Final Four semifinal features the Syracuse Orange and the North Carolina Tar Heels. Syracuse (23-13) is the #10 seed in the Midwest region and is only the fourth double-digit seed ever to make it to the Final Four. North Carolina (32-6) is the #1 seed in the East region. The Tar Heels beat Syracuse twice during the regular season this year, and if you look at the data, North Carolina is much better than the Orange. However, as you’ve seen, there are times when the players on the court make the data look silly, as Jim Boeheim’s charges have shown in this tournament, mounting big comebacks in their last two wins to qualify for the semifinals in Houston. Find out the latest NCAAB online betting lines soon.

Syracuse Orange vs North Carolina Tar Heels March Madness Odds Analysis

When: Saturday, April 2, 2016, 40 minutes after Oklahoma-Villanova
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
Radio: Westwood One Sports
Live Stream: March Madness Live
NCAAB Odds: North Carolina (-9)

Why should you bet on the Orange?

One reason why Syracuse surprises so many teams is that they play a defense that many other teams cannot master — the 2-3 zone. A lot of teams that use this approach either surrender a ton of shots from downtown (because the zone packs in the middle) or a ton of offensive rebounds (because the big men down low don’t have an assigned man to block out). Syracuse doesn’t make either mistake, and they only have allowed their opponents to shoot 40.8% from the floor so far in the tournament. They are a young team (three of their top eight players in terms of minutes played are freshmen), but they have the steady hand of senior guard Michael Gbinije running the show. Against Gonzaga, he made the layup that sealed the huge comeback; against Virginia in the Elite Eight, he put up a gritty performance that included 11 points, 6 assists and a pair of steals. If the Orange can mesmerize North Carolina the way they have dealt with their opposition so far in the tournament, they could well make it to the finals — and even hoist the trophy.

Why should you put your money on North Carolina?

One key number to consider: 66. The Tar Heels have played four games against ACC foes in postseason play this year, both in the ACC tournament and the NCAA tournament. They have outscored the opposition by 66 total points in those four games. In their two regular-season tilts against Syracuse this season, they won by a total of 16 points. While the Tar Heels have a number of weapons, forward Brice Johnson has to be at the top of the stack. This senior has averaged 16.8 points and 10.5 boards per game this season, with 23 double-doubles (a school record) this season. If he can dominate the inside against Syracuse, it will be very tough for the Orange to pull off yet another magical upset.

Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction

This is a big line, especially considering that Syracuse only lost the two in-season matchups by a combined 16 points, at a time when they were playing at a lower level than they are now. I don’t think that Syracuse can pull off the upset, but I do think they can hold things close enough to cover. I’m picking the Tar Heels to win, 74-71, but I like Syracuse to cover.