NCAA basketball on Saturday night and we will see the Dayton Flyers take on the Syracuse Orange in the 3rd round of the NCAA Tournament, which is being played at First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York. The game has a start time of 7:10 pm (Eastern) and will be televised on TBS. Vegas odds have the Orange listed as 7.5 point favorites, while the total sits at 130.
Stat Pack: The Dayton Flyers got to the 3rd round by upsetting Ohio State, 60-59. The win now has Dayton at 24-10 overall on the year, including 11-6 in all games away from home The Flyers come in averaging a solid 73 ppg on 46.6 % shooting, which is 57th in the nation. They also are 60th in 3 point shooting (37.5%), but just 232nd in FT shooting (68.3%). The offense is led by Jordan Siebert, who averages 12.4 ppg, while Devin Oliver leads the team in rebounding (7.4 rpg) and is also 2nd on the team in scoring (12.0 ppg). Dyshawn Pierre averages 11.1 ppg to round out the double digit scorers on the team. Defensively the Flyers are solid as they allow just 67.4 ppg on 44.1% shooting. Dayton played one ACC team this season, winning by 10 points at Georgia Tech in late November.
For the Syracuse Orange, they got a nice easy 24 point win over Western Michigan to move on to the 3rd round. The Win now puts the Cuse at 28-5 on the year, including a 12-3 mark in all games away from home this year. The Cuse are led by a defense that ranks 9th in the nation in points allowed (59.3 ppg), while allowing just 41% shooting, which is 58th in the nation. They do struggle defending the three as they allow 34.3% from long range, which is 178th. On offense this is a very mediocre team that averages just 68.4 ppg (247th) on 43.9% shooting (192nd). The Offense is led by C.J. Fair, who averages 16.6 ppg on the year. Tyler Ennis (12.8 ppg), Trevor Cooney (12.4 ppg) and Jerami Grant (12.3 ppg), round out the DD scorers on the team. Grant has averaged 17 points and 7.7 rebounds in three games since returning from a back injury.
Pick: Dare I play the over in this one? I dare. The Cuse are realizing that they need to speed up the tempo a bit in order to score more. They can't always rely on their defense to win game. The offense has to help, and they have of late, averaging 71.3 ppg in their last 3 games. They take on a Dayton team that is decent but not great on defense, as they come in allowing 67.5 ppg overall and 68 ppg in their last 7 games. They have also allowed 68.8 ppg in their 6 games on neutral courts this year. The Cuse defense is tough, but their Zone defense does struggle vs the 3 ball and the Flyers are 60th in the nation in 3 point shooting, so Dayton should get their fair share of points from that department. The Flyers have averaged 73 ppg overall, while the Cuse have allowed 66.8 ppg on neutral courts this year. I see this also as being a possible foul fest in the end of the game, with the Cuse winning by a 74-65 count.
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2014 NCAA Tournament Preview
Ken Thomson, Bryan Leonard and host Marco D'Angelo from Pregame.com give their thoughts on the upcoming NCAA Tournament.