Syracuse Lengthy Back Court To Pose Problems For ECU

Mark Lathrop

Monday, December 19, 2016 2:36 PM UTC

Monday, Dec. 19, 2016 2:36 PM UTC

Our college basketball handicapper had a few bad beats over the weekend, and looks to get back on track with what should be an easy win over an outclassed Eastern Michigan team on the road.

2015-16 NCAAB Record: 12-6, +5.40 Units 

In a clash of two 6-4 teams, the Eastern Michigan Eagles of the Mid-American Conference travel to face the Syracuse Orange of the of the ACC. Opening odds have the mid-major Eagles as heavy road underdogs in this game, with current NCAA Basketball odds listed at -12 favoring the Syracuse at BetOnline. The game can be seen nationally on ESPNU.

Eastern Michigan comes into the second road game of their New England road trip after an 82-74 loss to Vermont on Saturday night. In that game, Eastern Michigan shot the ball rather well, especially from beyond the arc. The Eagles hit 9-16 3-pointers (56.3%), with 6’ 1” senior guard, Willie Mangum going 5-9 in that category. 6’ 10” sophomore, James Thompson, had his best day rebounding pulling down 21 boards, but only hit 4-13 from the field. Thompson is averaging 15.6 points and 12 rebounds per game this year. Thompson is not the only player with size on the Eagles roster, but he is the only player in the front court averaging more than 5 points per game.

Along with Magnum at guard, Eastern Michigan has 6’3” Ray Lee, who is averaging 17.4 points per game on 43.3% shooting from the field. The Eagles are 79th in the country in field goal percentage at 47% from the field, but struggle overall from 3-point range at 34.8%.

Syracuse got beat at home as a 7-point favorite on Saturday night by Georgetown, 71-78. The game was the third straight up loss by the Syracuse at home as a listed favorite of 7 points or more. The Orange got beat badly on the boards in their loss to the Hoyas, losing the battle of the glass 41-30. They also shot poorly from the charity stripe, only hitting 14-25 attempts (56%). It wasn’t all bad news, though, 6’ 9” sophomore forward, Tyler Lydon, had a career game against Georgetown. Over 36 minutes, Lydon hit 12 of 13 attempts from field goal range and was a perfect 3-3 from behind the arc in putting up a team-high 29 points.

Lydon’s performance increased Syracuse’s season mark for 3-pointers, as they are an excellent 28th in the country while hitting 40.1% of their attempts on the year. It’s the bright spot on their offense that is only scoring 752 points per game. They allow only 62.9 points per game, though, so their defense has covered up most of their troubles on offense so far.

This Syracuse Orange have a huge size advantage in this game in the backcourt, which is going to be very difficult for Eastern Michigan to overcome. My guess is that Syracuse will come out firing after losing to Georgetown, and the game will end up like the last time these two teams met, a 70-48 cruising win for the Orange. Take Syracuse -12 at BetOnline as one of your Monday college basketball picks.

Free NCAA Basketball: Syracuse -12Best Line Odds: at BetOnline

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