If the SEC showdown between the 18th-ranked Hogs and top-ranked Wildcats doesn’t get your motor running then this ACC showdown between two perennial Men’s College Basketball betting powerhouses.
Today the Syracuse Orange travel to Durham, North Carolina to take on the 12.5-point favorite Duke Blue Devils who are riding an eight-game winning streak.
“We’ve played good for a long time,” said Orange coach Jim Boeheim, who is two victories shy of increasing his NCAA record for most 20-win seasons to 37. “We’re playing about as well as we can play.”
A Closer Look At the Syracuse vs Duke NCAA Men’s Basketball Line & Final Score Prediction
Matchup: Syracuse Orange at (4) Duke Blue Devils
Date: Feb. 28, 2015
Start Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Location: Durham, North Carolina
Stadium: Cameron Indoor Stadium
TV Info: ESPN 2
Radio: Syracuse Vs Duke
Point Spread: Duke -12.5
Syracuse Will Cover the Spread If
The Orange do a better job defending against Jahlil Okafor.
For a while there in the first game between these two it looked like Rakeem Christmas and Syracuse was going to upset the exceptionally talented Duke Blue Devils. Syracuse entered half time with a 39 to 36 lead.
But, then, the second half started and Jahlil Okafor, still at the top of the list of players most likely to win the Player of the Year award, dominated the second half and Duke won going away, 80 to 72. The Blue Devils covered the spread by half a point. Okafor ended up with 23 points and 13 boards.
If Syracuse is to have any shot at covering the spread versus the Dookies at Cameron Indoor Stadium, they’re going to have to do a better job on Okafor. They’ll need to double-team him much quicker than they did in the first game as well as box out on him once the ball is in the air.
— Syracuse Basketball (@Cuse_MBB) February 27, 2015
Syracuse’s Projected Starting Lineup: Michael Gbinije (F), Rakeem Christmas (F), Tyler Roberson (F) Kaleb Joseph (G), Trevor Cooney (G).
Duke Will Cover the Spread If
Duke can win the rebounding battle again.
Syracuse usually out rebounds its opponents with ease. The Orange averages 37 boards per game while their opponents average only 30. Against Duke, though, stud rebounder Rakeem Christmas got absolutely schooled. Christmas, who averages 18.2 points and 9 boards a game, only scored 11 points and grabbed 6 boards against Duke in the first matchup.
With his 30 points vs. Virginia Tech, Jahlil Okafor joined an impressive list of Dukies. pic.twitter.com/jbHYPSDiZr
— ESPN College BBall (@ESPNCBB) February 26, 2015
That’s not going to cut it. If Duke dominates Syracuse on the boards again, the same result could transpire. This time, though, because Duke takes on the Orange at Cameron, the Blue Devils might blow out Syracuse. Duke out rebounded Syracuse 37 to 29. The Blue Devils were particularly effective on the defensive end where they grabbed 27 defensive boards to Syracuse’s 18.
If Duke is able to win the rebounding battle in the rematch, they’re going to beat Syracuse by much more than 8 points. Duke could potentially beat the Orange by 20 if they out rebound Syracuse again.
Duke’s Projected Starting Lineup: Jahlil Okafor (C), Justise Winslow (F), Tyus Jones (G), Quinn Cook (G), Matt Jones (G).