The Syracuse Orange and Virginia Cavaliers meet on the second day of the ACC Tournament on early Thursday afternoon. Virginia was afforded a bye as the No. 1 seed, so were able to sit out yesterday. There were a couple of upsets on Thursday, as No. 13 Miami beat No. 5 Clemson, and No. 10 Duke beat No. 7 Louisville. I’m not so sure the Duke win qualifies as much of an upset.
According to the oddsmakers, it wasn’t an upset at all, as the Blue Devils were three-point favorites in that game. Duke has been playing better basketball after a slow start in the first-half of the season, and they’ll advance to play a very talented Florida State team in the next round. A win over Florida State likely puts Duke into the NCAA Tournament. Syracuse is putting together a nice portfolio late in the season, and doing a good job of convincing people that they should be in.
The Orange head into Thursday afternoon on a three-game winning streak. They’ve also won six of their last eight games for a pretty nice stretch of success for Syracuse since February 9. In their last three wins, Syracuse beat North Carolina, 72-70, Clemson, 64-54, and NC State, 89-68. That was a heck of an effort for Syracuse against NC State. They blew the doors off as a 3-point favorite.
Syracuse received a big performance from Buddy Boeheim, as the head coach’s son went off for 27 points. The Orange couldn’t miss from the field. They were hot from outside, and will need a similar performance on Thursday to get to the next round. It would be a fairly decent upset if the No. 8 team beats the No. 1, but the ACC is awfully wide open that we could have a surprise winner in the conference.
A win for the Orange against Virginia, and I think they’re off the bubble and in the NCAA Tournament. Even if they lose their next game, it would be hard to keep them out after beating a ranked team for their fourth straight win and seven in their last nine outings. The Cavaliers are back on track with wins over Miami, 62-51, and Louisville, 68-58, following three straight losses. Virginia needed those two losses going into the ACC Tournament after struggling against Florida State, 81-60, Duke, 66-65, and NC State, 68-61. Head below for our free Syracuse vs. Virginia pick on March 11, 2021.
Syracuse Orange vs. Virginia Cavaliers ACC Tournament Betting Odds:
Syracuse vs. Virginia Prediction:
Virginia is the No. 1 seed in the ACC Tournament, but it’s hard to say that they’re the clear-cut favorite to win. They don’t carry too much value as the favorite. I said that Villanova is likely the most vulnerable No. 1 seed in the power conferences to lose. Following closely behind has to be Virginia. They aren’t dealing with major injuries like Villanova, but have nevertheless looked beatable at several times this season.
The Cavaliers finished the regular season with a record of 17-6 and 13-4 in the conference. They were able to barely edge out Florida State for top honors in the conference. The Cavaliers rely heavily in their defense, which has always been the case during the Tony Bennett era at the University of Virginia. There has been no exceptions this season, as the Cavaliers are fifth in the NCAA with an average of 60.1 points allowed per game.
Virginia allowed more than 60 points in three straight games before the defense returned to form in wins over Miami and Louisville. They are going to be dealing with a hot Syracuse this afternoon. The fact that Syracuse doesn’t get a day off could be seen as a positive considering how well they were shooting from the field against NC State. It’s the seventh game in their last eight that the Orange have netted at least 70 points.
The Orange are coming along at the perfect time, which is important to finding success in March. Virginia easily beat ‘Cuse on January 25 by a score of 81-58. However, Syracuse was all disjointed at that point and had no direction. Since that loss, Syracuse has gone 6-3 with wins in their last three attempts. They’re in much better form at the moment following that loss. Getting 5.5 points looks like solid value on a hot team playing on a neutral court. I’m anticipating a close one, with the points likely valuable in this contest.