NCAA Basketball Pick for Syracuse vs. Notre Dame's ACC Battle: Defensive Underdog Definitely Worth a Wager

Joe Gavazzi

Tuesday, February 24, 2015 4:36 PM GMT

We preview tonight's NCAA Basketball battle between the Syracuse Orange & the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, serving up our free pick & betting odds analysis.

Syracuse vs. Notre Dame (-8) 8:00 ET
Syracuse travels to Notre Dame for this 8:00 ET tipoff of ACC opponents.  Remember, it was just 2 short years ago that these teams were facing off as members of the Big East.  For their meeting today, Notre Dame enters at 24-4 SU for the season with a 12-3 SU ACC mark.  It is good enough for 2nd place in the best league in the country.  The Syracuse record is 17-10 SU, 8-6 SU in ACC play.  It is the worst record in a number of years for a Boeheim coached team.

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Syracuse issues revolve around their lack of play at the point guard position.  Boeheim never really filled the void left by the early departure of last year’s lead guard, Tyler Ennis.  What Syracuse still possesses is an outstanding defense in the form of the 2-3 zone which Boeheim has popularized.  If you read today’s article on Defensive Dandies, you will see that Syracuse is one of the members, allowing just 63 PPG, 40% from the field and 32% from the arc.  Along with strong fundamentals yielding a positive rebound margin, TO/assist ratio and TO margin, they are a fully qualified Defensive Dandy.  Thus, it is not surprise that Syracuse has a 5-2 ATS record as underdog.  This is the first meeting of the year between these teams, a series in which Syracuse holds a 5-1 edge.  Two weeks ago, Syracuse announced a post-season ban for the program in light of a recent NCAA investigation.  Since that time, the Orange are playing every contest as if it is an NCAA game.  

Notre Dame has one of the most powerful offenses in the country, averaging 80 PPG on 51% shooting, 40% from the arc, while converting 72% from the stripe and dishing out 15.3 assists per game.  Whether they can do it against the fabled Boeheim zone, which has befuddled many a high-powered opponent, is another story.  Under 15th year HC Brey, the Irish have rarely succeeded in today’s role.  In fact, in the last two seasons, Notre Dame is just 5-15 ATS as home favorite.  Note that their 2 most recent blowout wins have come at the expense of lower echelon ACC teams, Wake Forest and Boston College, teams with a combined 5 conference victories.  

Now stepping way up in class, those placing NCAA Basketball picks today must favor the defensive dog that will be treating this like an NCAA Tourney game.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Take Syracuse +8 at 5Dimes