NCAA Basketball Picks: Syracuse vs. Pittsburgh

Steven Suarez

Thursday, March 14, 2013 12:20 PM GMT

Thursday, Mar. 14, 2013 12:20 PM GMT

The quarter-finals of the Big East tournament tip off today, with Syracuse and Pittsburgh set to battle it out for a spot in the last four. Which side are we taking with our college basketball picks?

Odds Overview

Panthers fans are hoping fresh legs will help them out against Syracuse in a showdown, where the College Basketball odds makers have listed the Pittsburgh as 2.5-point favorites.

The total had not been released at time of writing. The UNDER has gone 7-3 in Pittsburgh's previous 10 contests overall, although four of Syracuse's last five matchups on a neutral court have ended above the posted total.

Let SBR be your 2013 NCAA Tournament betting headquarters.

Syracuse Orange

If you had added a Syracuse cover to your sports picks yesterday, you were wondering what the heck was going on in the first half. The Orange had an extremely slow start, but were able to pick it up as the first 20 minutes came to a close.

That momentum carried over into the second half, where Jim Boeheim's team outscored Seton Hall 41-29 to finish as 75-63 victors. It wasn't the prettiest of defensive performances from the Orange – they allowed the Pirates to shoot 51.2 percent overall and 50.0 percent from three – but it didn't seem to matter as Syracuse was hitting everything in the second half.

Overall, the Orange shot 56.2 percent from the field, while connecting on 9-of-15 from beyond the arc. They held a firm advantage on the glass and only turned the ball over seven times in the win.

In terms of individual efforts, four guys stood out for Syracuse. James Southerland hit six threes on his way to a team-high 20 points, while Brandon Triche and C.J. Fair combined for 33 points. Michael Carter-Williams dished out 14 assists, just two less than the entire Seton Hall team.

Despite advancing, the Orange fell just short of an ATS cover for their backers and are now a miserable 1-5 ATS over their last six overall. Will they buck the trend against a rested Pittsburgh squad?

Pittsburgh Panthers

The Panthers closed out their regular season on a hot run, winning four straight games to finish with a conference record of 12-6 and a BYE in the first round of the tournament.

We don't want to get too carried away by the streak though, as three of those wins came against some of the weakest competition in the Big East (DePaul, South Florida and St. John's). They also needed overtime to get past Villanova at home.

Regardless, it's hard to fault Pittsburgh for winning the games they should. It's been their defense that's carried them, with the Panthers surrendering a measly 54.4 PPG on 36.4 percent shooting over their last five.

Ahead of today's tipoff, Pittsburgh has covered in three of their last four, and in 12 games away from home they've gone 8-4 ATS.

The Panthers have also completely owned the head-to-head series with the Orange, winning six of the last seven matchups straight up and going a perfect 7-0 ATS in those games.

[gameodds]14/224607/43/us[/gameodds]

College Basketball Pick:

In the one meeting between the Panthers and the Orange this season, Pittsburgh took home the spoils in a 65-55 win at home. The Orange struggled offensively, shooting just 36.7 percent from the floor, but let's not lose sight of the fact Southerland was unable to play. He's a big part of that offense with his ability to stretch the floor.

We have to say we were impressed by Syracuse's execution in the second half yesterday and we have a feeling they'll be able to pick up where they left off against Pittsburgh. It's not like Seton Hall is terrible defensively, but Fair, Triche and Southerland were still able to be extremely efficient scoring-wise in the win.

We're also a little scared off by Pittsburgh's inconsistency. On some nights they look unbeatable, but then they turn around and lose games they shouldn't, like at home versus Notre Dame, Marquette and Cincinnati and on the road against Rutgers.

All in all, we can't pass up Syracuse as underdogs, as we still feel this team is talented enough to make a deep run when things are going right. We're backing the Orange with our NCAA Basketball picks tonight, as we thing the odds makers are giving the Panthers too much credit in this situation.. 

NCAA Basketball Pick: Syracuse Orange +2.5 at 5Dimes

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