Orange Ready to Dance All Over TCU in Midwest First Round

Swinging Johnson

Thursday, March 15, 2018 2:59 PM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 15, 2018 2:59 PM UTC

The Syracuse Orange dribbled their way past Arizona State to emerge from the First Four into the first round of the NCAA tournament against the No. 6 seed TCU Horned Frogs on Friday in the Midwest Region. 

No. 11 Syracuse (21-13 SU, 14-17 ATS) vs. No. 6 TCU (21-11 SU, 16-13 ATS)Midwest Region, Detroit, Friday, 9:40 PM ETFree NCAAB Pick: Syracuse +3½Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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  • TCU is 0-4 ATS in their last four Friday games.
  • TCU is 2-2 ATS in all neutral court games.
  • Syracuse is 6-1 ATS in their last seven Friday games.
  • Syracuse is 5-1 ATS in their last six NCAA Tournament games.
  • Syracuse is 4-1 ATS in their last five games as an underdog of 0.5-6.5.

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Survive and advance

— Syracuse Basketball (@Cuse_MBB) March 15, 2018

The early college basketball odds reflect TCU as 3½ point favorites, and it’s mostly due to their prolific scoring punch. The Horned Frogs have averaged 83 points per game, which ties for 18th in the nation, and are 2nd in assists. Senior Slovakian product Vladimir Brodziansky leads the team with 15.1 points per game and is followed by Kenrich Williams, who is averaging 13.1 points and leads the team in rebounds (9.3 per contest). However, what the Frogs produce on offense they give up on defense, surrendering 75.9 PPG (269th in the country).

Syracuse employed their dynamic defense and escaped with a 60-56 win over Arizona State in the First Four to propel them to Friday’s first-round matchup. Freshman forward Oshae Brissett led the Syracuse offense with 23 points and 12 rebounds, which produced his 13th double-double of the season and eclipsed his season average of 14.9 PPG and 8.9 boards per game. What the Orange lack in scoring, averaging 67.3 points per game, they more than make up with on defense, allowing just 64.3 PPG (15th in the nation)

This is the proverbial irresistible force vs. the immovable object. Do you believe TCU’s high-octane offense is better than Syracuse’s rock-solid defense? Oddly enough, the Orange own better stats on the glass, with 37.4 boards per game (83rd) vs. TCU’s 36.4 (118th). Not a huge difference to be sure but Syracuse has enough muscle down low to keep TCU’s Williams from dominating the paint and scooping rebounds at will.

Moreover, I don’t see a big advantage for TCU in terms of rest, having had more than a week since their 66-64 overtime loss to Kansas State in the Big 12 quarterfinal round. A distinct parallel can be made between the Wildcats’ defense (ranked 58th) and that of Syracuse (ranked 15th). If TCU couldn’t get their motor started against Kansas State’s D, then how do you suspect they will fare against a stouter version?

Although it’s true Syracuse has had only one day to prepare for this one, this is a tournament predicated on talent and raw emotion. Adrenaline is real, especially when the athletes are 18-22 years old, and so is rust. The Orange are soaring after their victory, while the Frogs may be still licking their wounds from their early ouster in their conference tournament as three-point favorites. Grab the points and back the Orange in your college basketball picks on Friday night.

Check out SBR’s college basketball odds page for updated lines. Also, head over to the March Madness Betting Headquarters for vital handicapping information, picks, and a list of the best sports books and live betting options for the tournament season.

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