College Basketball Betting – Syracuse Orange vs. Louisville Cardinals

Written by:
Phil Simon
Published on:

If a game is played and no one is there to watch it does it count? Amid concerns over the spread of the coronavirus, the ACC closed the doors to the general public for the remainder of the conference tournament. For all the fans thinking North Carolina had a run in them, forget about it. The Syracuse Orange waltzed into the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament following a dominant 81-53 win over the Heels. With 18 wins currently, the Orange likely need at least one more signature victory to get them mentioned as an at-large team. They will have a chance to pad the resume on Thursday in a matchup with the No. 3 seed Louisville Cardinals.

Syracuse Orange vs. Louisville Cardinals
Date and Time: Thursday, March 12, 2020, 9 p.m. ET
Location: Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, NC
Opening College Basketball Odds: Louisville -5.5
Syracuse vs. Louisville TV Coverage: ESPN

Odds Analysis

The biggest question is how teams respond to playing in an arena void of fans. Syracuse opened the ACC Tournament with a convincing win over UNC on Wednesday and has to come right back and play again on Thursday. Even with their 28-point win four Orange starters played at least 35 minutes. The coach’s reluctance to clear his bench earlier in the second half against the Heels could come back and bite him. Louisville blew a chance to win the regular season crown by losing four of its final seven games to drop to the third-seed. The Cards had nearly a week to stew over their 57-54 loss to Virginia in the finale. The Cardinals won the only regular season meeting between the teams 90-66 on Feb. 19.

Syracuse Orange

There’s always been a debate over whether or not playing an early round game is beneficial. The ACC tries to protect the higher seeds by giving the top four a double-bye into the quarterfinals. The rest of the field has to fight it out in the earlier rounds. There’s a reason why we don’t see lower seeded teams win the ACC. Actually there’s two. First, the best teams aren’t just the best in the conference they’re also some of the best in the country. And second, it’s a grind having to win four or five games on consecutive nights.

Of course the Orange will tell you they are right where they want to be. But that’s not the case. Short of winning the ACC Tournament, Syracuse likely has to reach the semis to sniff an at-large berth into the NCAA’s. And getting there means beating Louisville on Thursday. That’s no easy task considering they lost by 24 points just a few weeks ago.

Behind 27 points from the ACC’s leading scorer, the Orange opened their tournament slate with an 81-53 drubbing of North Carolina, ending a nine-game losing streak to the Heels in the process. And they’ll need the same if not more from Elijah Hughes on Thursday. Four times over the course of the season Hughes was held to 10 points or less with Syracuse going 1-3 in those games. He was just 3 of 13 shooting with 10 points in the loss to Louisville in February.

Louisville Cardinals

The Cardinals would love to recoup some of that early season magic that lifted them to the top of the rankings for the ACC Tournament. Starting the season with nine straight wins got them to No. 1 in early December. Soon after came three losses in five games. They got things straightened out until mid-February with a loss to Georgia Tech beginning a stretch of four defeats in the final seven games. That swoon cost Louisville a chance at the regular season ACC title. “I’m obviously disappointed we couldn’t finish the deal,” Chris Mack said.

The Cards go as Jordan Nwora goes. And the league’s second-leading scorer has played well all season. He’s the only Louisville player averaging in double figures with 18.0 points per game along with 7.7 rebounds per contest. The first-team All-ACC performer is averaging a double-double with 16.8 points and 10.5 rebounds over the last four games.

Someone else has to rise up for the Cards to have success in the tournament. There is no shortage of candidates with Steven Enoch leading a group of five players scoring between 9.5 and 6.3 points. Malik Williams is the X-factor. He averaged 8.5 points and 6.1 rebounds in less than 20 minutes and he should be ready to go after missing a few games with an ankle injury.

Bet Syracuse vs. Louisville at BookMaker.eu

Even though Louisville limped to the end of the season the Cards finished with 24 wins and a coveted double-bye in the tournament. I’ll take the rest over having to play the day before anytime. It doesn’t always work out, but in this case the Cards have fresh legs and more of them. Their depth was a huge factor in the earlier win and it will be again on Thursday.

College Basketball Score Prediction: Louisville 76, Syracuse 66

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- Phil Simon, Gambling911.com

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