California (5-0) vs. #8 Syracuse (5-0)
If a team wants to play in Maui, that means that they want to be tested early and there’s no rest. This is the case for the undefeated California Golden Bears as they take on the Syracuse Orange. Syracuse is a small 4 point betting favorite in this game as they narrowly escaped Minnesota with a 75-67 and handed the Golden Gophers their first loss of the season.
California had a much similar test to that of Syracuse. They too, had won by 8 over a previously undefeated Arkansas Razorbacks team and once trailed in this game early in the 2nd half. Should we expect a “down to the buzzer” game or will Syracuse join our NCAA basketball picks with a blowout in which they cover the small 4 point spread?
“Fair Is Fair”
While other players like Michael Carter-Williams left head coach Jim Boeheim for the pros and are successful, senior C.J. Fair saw fit to play out his senior year to improve his draft status and thus far, it’s been a success.
Fair leads the Orange at 17.6 points and 6.4 rebounds per game as Syracuse’s number 1 option. Against, Minnesota, Fair grinded out a double-double and hit the deciding shot with a couple of minutes remaining as the Orange pulled away from the Golden Gophers to move on to the next round.
The advantage in having Fair is that he carries so many Big East Tournament games and NCAA Tournament games as experience under his belt and has been a reliable option for Syracuse. Fair will need help from teammates Trevor Cooney and rebounding specialist, Jerami Grant. Against Minnesota, all of Cooney’s 15 points were accounted for via the 3 point shot. This trio will need to put their best foot forward as either Gonzaga or Baylor awaits.
2nd chance points were huge in Cal’s victory over Arkansas as the Golden Bears collected 19 offensive rebound and converted it into 24 points. In all, Cal outrebounded their opponent 45-32 and a big part of that was forward David Kravish who led the way with 19 points and 15 rebounds. A battle of the boards could decide tonight’s matchup.
I’m going to lean on the experience of Syracuse and the amount of games that they’ve played in high pressure situations. Don’t expect C.J. Fair to let this team down.
Pick- Syracuse -4 at Bet 365
Texas (4-1) at DePaul (3-2)
An Even Matchup
Both of these teams got to feast off of cupcakes, but that finally ended as they’re both coming off of losses to formidable teams. DePaul was steamrolled by 12th ranked Wichita State 90-72 and Texas couldn’t find a way past BYU as they suffered their 1st loss of the season in a hard fought battle, 86-82.
Now, these teams meet on a neutral site in the form of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City Missouri as sportsbooks are listing Texas as a slight 2 point betting favorite. These teams are about dead even in talent, but one team will come out on top tonight.
Texas is coming off of a game against BYU in which their starters let them down as they were outscored 75-50. Leading scorer and bench player, Javan Felix, produced, but his production was inefficient as he was just 6 of 18 from the field. The Longhorns are a team with no definitive “go to guy” as Felix is just a 38.5% shooter from the field and hasn’t shot over 40% in 2 seasons.
This is a very inconsistent bunch as starters Demarcus Holland and Isaiah Taylor are coming off of a combined 3 for 16 shooting effort and scoring 7 points apiece.
For DePaul to have a chance in their game, leading scorer, Cleveland Melvin, will need to rebound from a poor performance against Wichita State in which he was ineffective, putting up just 9 shots and scoring 9 points in total. DePaul has a very deep team, but they’re not a high scoring team or a team that will dominate on the boards; they need their leading scorer to recover as the level of opposition in this game is much lower as opposed to Wichita State. Look for Melvin and senior guard, Brandon Young, to lead the way. Young is a player that can do it all except shoot from beyond the arc.
Look for Texas’ starters to bounce back in this “consolation game”. When the Longhorns starters are playing well, they’re just a step above DePaul and expect that to happen tonight.
Pick- Texas -2 at Bet 365[gameodds]14/251264/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]