NCAA Basketball Picks: Syracuse vs. Montana

Jeff Grant

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 12:04 PM UTC

Tuesday, Mar. 19, 2013 12:04 PM UTC

The Syracuse Orange land in one of the worst situational spots for the Round of 64 in the 2013 NCAA Tournament, which makes the Montana Grizzlies a playable option Thursday night.

Let’s take a closer look at the NCAA basketball odds for this matchup between the Big East and Big Sky Conference, with the opening tip scheduled for 9:57 p.m. ET at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, CA.

Second-half collapse

Syracuse seemed destined to capture the Big East Championship heading into the break with a 13-point lead over the Louisville Cardinals last Saturday, but was outscored by a 56-26 margin in the final 20 minutes in suffering a 78-61 loss as 5.5-point neutral-site underdogs.

The Orange put forth an impressive effort in the event, including a thrilling 58-55 overtime victory over the Georgetown Hoyas as one-point underdogs in the semifinal round.

Taking care of business at home

Montana will enter this contest on a 6-0 straight up and against-the-spread (ATS) run, as it took care of business in the Big Sky Championship game at home—coming away with a 67-64 triumph over Weber State as one-point favorites last Saturday.

The Grizzlies have played their last four games in Missoula, as they’ll have to leave the area for the first time since March 4.

Traveling to the West Coast

I’m having a hard time remembering a worst situational spot for a No. 4 seed in the Round of 64, which may offer value for the double-digit underdogs in this matchup when looking over the SBR Odds page.

Syracuse had to play four games in four nights at Madison Square Garden last week, which earned them a trip across country to play the nightcap in the Bay Area.  

The Orange did open up their 2012-13 schedule with a trip to California, as they came away with an impressive 62-49 victory over San Diego State, but they’ve been known to stay in the Eastern Time Zone throughout the years.

Big Sky has fallen short

As a graduate of Northern Arizona University, I definitely monitor the Big Sky standings throughout the year, but its last seven representatives in the Big Dance have failed to show up.  Those seven teams have lost each game in SU fashion (1-6 ATS) and have been outscored by an average of 14.8 points.



I’m going to recommend that readers back the Grizzlies as one of their NCAA basketball picks for Thursday, as I established the Orange as 11-point favorites in this spot—giving us two points of value in terms of the point spread.

NCAA Basketball Pick:  Montana Grizzlies +13 at Bovada

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