Monday night college basketball and we will see the Virginia Cavaliers travel to the Carrier Dome to take on the Syracuse Orange. The game has a start time of 7:00 pm (Eastern) and will be televised on ESPN. Current Vegas betting odds have the Virginia listed as 5.5 point favorites, while the total is set at 113.
Analysis: The Virginia Cavaliers have won 8 games in a row since their lone loss of the year, which was to Duke at the end of January. The Cavs are now 27-1 overall, while leading the ACC by 2 games over Duke with a 15-1 record. As of now it looks like Virginia is in line for a number 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Cavs have gone 20-6-2 ATS in their last 28 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600, but just 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games following a S.U. win. The Cavaliers have not been a very good offensive team this year, ranking 204th in scoring (66.1 ppg), 63rd in shooting (46.3%), 98th in 3 point shooting (36.0%) and 72nd in FT shooting (72.1%). Defensively the Cavs have been excellent this year, ranking 1st in points allowed (50.1 ppg), 2nd in defensive FG% (35.4%) and 31st in 3 point defense (30.5%).
The Syracuse Orange really have nothing to play for this year after the put self-imposed bans on themselves, which will keep them from any post-season play this year, including the ACC tournament. Its starting to show with this team as they have won just 4 of their last 10 games to fall to 8-7 in the ACC for the year and 18-11 overall. Syracuse has gone 7-19-2 ATS in their last 28 vs. the ACC and 1-6 ATS in their last 7 home games. The Orange have been an average offensive squad this year, ranking 148th in scoring (68.7 ppg), 184th in shooting (43.5%), 310th in 3 point shooting (30.5%) and 281st in FT shooting (66.0%). The defense for this team has been solid as they come in ranked 94th in points allowed (63.3 ppg), 68th in defensive FG% (40.3%) and 45th in 3 point defense (31.2%).
Pick: I will go with the Under in this game. Boy I can almost see the Orange being held in the 40s in this game by a very tough Virginia defense that is just getting stronger as they have allowed just 47.9 ppg in their last 7 games, holing 5 of those opponents to less than 50 points. This is a tough defense and Syracuse has had issues scoring of late, putting up just 60 ppg in their last 3 games. One area the Cuse has not had problems in this year has been their defense, especially at home where they have allowed just 59.2 ppg. and they are taking on a Virginia offense that has averaged just 62.4 ppg in their last 5 games. This should be an extremely slow paced game between two teams that place exceptional defense and facing a couple of struggling offenses. I look for 108 or less to be scored in this one.
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