#2 Virginia Cavaliers at Syracuse Orange
Carrier Dome – Syracuse, New York
Monday March 2, 2015, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Virginia -6
Current Line: Virginia -5 1/2
Opening Total: 114
Current Total: 114
Opening Money Line: Virginia -240 / Syracuse +200
Current Money Line: Virginia -245 / Syracuse +205
The 27-1 Virginia Cavaliers have clinched at least a share of the ACC regular season title at 15-1 over 13-3 Duke. The Cavaliers can wrap up the outright conference title for a second straight season with a win Monday at the 18-11 Syracuse Orange. The Orange are 9-7 in ACC play and in sixth place. However, the Orange banned themselves from post-season play as a preemptive strike against possible NCAA sanctions. Syracuse will not play in the ACC or NCAA tournaments this season. There is no guarantee the rebuilding Orange would make the NCAA Tournament anyway even if the ban wasn’t in place.
Syracuse leads the series 3-2 against Virginia including 1-0 in the Carrier Dome. Virginia won the only meeting last season 75-56 in Charlottesville. This is the only scheduled meeting this season between the teams.
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Virginia is coached by Tony Bennett. Virginia lost at home to Duke. The Cavaliers have home wins over George Washington, Cleveland State, Harvard, Davidson, North Carolina State, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Wake Forest, Pittsburgh, Florida State and Virginia Tech 69-57 Saturday. Virginia has neutral site wins over LaSalle and Rutgers in a tournament in Brooklyn, plus road wins at James Madison, Maryland, Virginia Commonwealth, Miami, Notre Dame, Boston College, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, NC State and Wake Forest. Virginia has won 8 straight games since the Duke loss. The Cavaliers are 15-11 ATS and the total is 9-13-1 this season. Virginia was a 19.5 point favorite against Virginia Tech and the total was 116.5.
Syracuse is coached by Jim Boeheim. The Orange have a neutral site loss to California in Madison Square Garden, road losses to Michigan, Villanova, Clemson, North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Duke 73-54 Saturday, plus home losses to St. John’s, Miami, Duke, and Pittsburgh. Syracuse has a neutral site win over Iowa at MSG, home wins over Louisiana Tech, Colgate, Long Beach State, Cornell, Florida State, Wake Forest, Boston College, Virginia Tech, and Louisville, plus road wins over Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Boston College, and Notre Dame. The Orange are 9-16-1 ATS and the total is 12-10-2 this season. Syracuse was a 12 point underdog against Duke and the total was 147.
Virginia is outscoring teams 66-50 this season. The Cavaliers are #1 nationally in points allowed. Virginia is shooting 46.3% from the field and 36% from 3 point range. Virginia makes 72.1% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 35.4% from the field and 30.5% from 3 point range. Virginia is #2 nationally in field goal defense and #28 in three point defense. The Cavaliers average 36.9 rebounds per game and allow 25.3 per game. Virginia is #3 nationally in rebounds allowed. The Cavaliers average 13.1 assists, 8.7 turnovers, 5.3 steals and 4.6 blocks per game. Opponents average 8.7 assists, 10.3 turnovers, 4.7 steals and 2.6 blocks per game.
Malcolm Brogdon averages 13.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 2.7 assists. Guard Justin Anderson averages 13.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2 assists per game. He is out indefinitely with a broken finger. Anthony Gill averages 11.2 points, and 6.7 rebounds. Mike Tobey averages 7.7 points and 5.3 rebounds. Darion Atkins averages 7 points and 6.1 rebounds. London Parrantes averages 4.5 assists per game. Mariel Shayok, Isaiah Wilkins, Evan Nolte and Devon Hall will also get minutes in the rotation.
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Syracuse is outscoring teams 69-63 this season. The Orange are shooting 43.5% from the field and 30.5% from 3 point range. The Orange are #312 out of 353 teams in 3 point shooting. Syracuse makes 66% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 40.3% from and 31.2% from 3 point range. Syracuse is #45 nationally in 3 point defense. The Orange average 37.1 rebounds per game and Opponents average 30.7 per game. Syracuse averages 15.3 assists, 11.9 turnovers, 8.4 steals and 5.1 blocks per game. Opponents average 14.9 assists, 14.1 turnovers, 6.2 steals and 3.2 blocks per game.
Forward Rakeem Christmas averages 17.8 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1 steal and 2.4 blocks per game. Trevor Cooney averages 13.5 points, 2.9 rebounds 2.2 assists, and 1.9 steals per game. Michael Gbinije averages 13 points, 5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.9 steals per game. Chris McCullough averages 9.3 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.7 steals and 2.1 blocks per game. He is out for the season with a knee injury. Tyler Roberson averages 7.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.6 assists. Kaleb Joseph averages 6.2 points, 2.3 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 steal per game. B.J. Johnson and Ron Patterson will also get time in the rotation. Center DaJuan Coleman is out for the season with a knee injury.
Virginia is 8-2-1 ATS in Monday games, 16-5-1 after failing to cover, and in road games, 28-10-2 against teams with winning records, 33-16-2 against teams with winning home records, 2-5 overall and against ACC teams, and 2-7 after a straight up win.
Syracuse is 3-1-1 ATS after failing to cover, and after a straight up loss, 7-19-2 in ACC games, 4-12-1 overall, 2-7-1 against teams with winning records, 1-4-1 against teams with winning road records, and 1-6 at home.
Syracuse can play spoiler by beating Virginia but I don’t know if that is motivation enough. The Cavaliers are simply the best defensive team in the nation and they should win this game with ease.