ACC Basketball Handicapping Picks: Clemson Tigers at #1 Syracuse Orange

Clemson Tigers at #1 Syracuse Orange
Carrier Dome – Syracuse, New York

Sunday, February 9, 2014, 6:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPNU
Opening Line: Syracuse -14 
Current Line: Syracuse -12 1/2
Opening Total: 112
Current Total: 115
Opening Money Line: Syracuse -1400 / Clemson +850
Current Money Line: Syracuse -950 / Clemson +645

Syracuse looks to remain undefeated at the host Clemson Sunday.
Syracuse looks to remain undefeated at the Orange host Clemson Sunday.

The 22-0 Syracuse Orange are off to the best start in program history, and lead the ACC at 9-0 over 10-1 Virginia. Syracuse looks to continue their winning streak as they host the 15-6 Clemson Tigers. Clemson is alone in fifth in the conference at 6-3.

Clemson has won both previous meetings with Syracuse, including 74-70 in the 2007 NIT tournament. The two schools became conference rivals this season when Syracuse joined the ACC. This is the only scheduled meeting between Syracuse and Clemson, but they could play in the ACC Tournament.

Clemson is coached by Brad Brownell. The Tigers have losses to Massachusetts in a tournament in Charleston, at Arkansas, at Auburn, Florida State, at North Carolina and at Pittsburgh. Clemson has key wins over South Carolina, Temple & Davidson in Charleston, at Boston College, Duke, at Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, at Florida State, and Georgia Tech 45-41 Tuesday night. The Tigers have won 2 straight games. Clemson is 10-6 ATS and the total is 6-10 this season.

Clemson is outscoring teams 63-55 this season. The Tigers leads the nation in points allowed, but are #330 out of 351 teams in scoring. Clemson is shooting 41.8% from the field and 31.8% from 3 point range. The Tigers are #284 or worse in both categories. Clemson is #46 nationally in free throw shooting making 73.9% from the line. Tiger opponents are shooting 37.8% from the field and 27% from 3 point range. Clemson is #8 in field goal defense and #2 in three point defense nationally. The Tigers average 37.6 rebounds per game and opponents average 29.5 per game. Clemson averages 10.5 assists, 11.3 turnovers, 4.9 steals and 6.2 blocks per game. Opponents average 9.4 assists, 10.8 turnovers, 5.2 steals and 3.2 blocks per game.

Forward K.J. McDaniels averages 16.3 points, 7 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.1 steals and 2.6 blocks per game. Guard Rod Hall averages 9 points, 2.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists. Guard Jordan Roper averages 8.7 points, 2.3 rebounds, and  1.6 assists per game. Center Landry Nnoko averages 5.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. Damarcus Harrison, Devin Coleman,  Adonis Filer, Jaron Blossomgame, Josh Smith, Ibrahin Djambo, and Sidy Djitte will also get time in the rotation.

Syracuse is coached by Jim Boeheim. The Orange have key wins over Cornell and Fordham at home, Minnesota, California, and Baylor (all in the Maui Invitational), Indiana at home, at St. John’s, and Villanova at home. In conference, Syracuse has home wins over Miami, North Carolina, Pittsburgh Duke, and Notre Dame 61-55 last Monday, plus road wins at Virginia Tech, Boston College, Miami, andWake Forest. The Orange are 11-6-1 ATS and the total is 6-9-2 this season.

Syracuse is outscoring teams 72-59 this season. The Orange are #9 nationally in points allowed. Syracuse is shooting 46% from the field and 36.3% from 3 point range. The Orange make 69.9% of their free throws. Syracuse opponents are shooting 40.9% from the field and 33.9% from 3 point range. The Orange average 36 rebounds per game and opponents average 26.6 per game. Syracuse is #10 nationally in rebounds allowed. The Orange average 13 assists, 9.4 turnovers, 8.9 steals and 5.1 blocks per game. Opponents average 13 assists, 14.2 turnovers, 4.5 steals and 2.8 blocks per game.

Syracuse forward C.J. Fair averages 16.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. Guard Trevor Cooney averages 14.1 points, 2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 2.2 steals per game. Forward Jerami Grant averages 12.8 points, 7 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game. Guard Tyler Ennis averages 12.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 2.3 steals per game. Forward Rakeem Christmas averages 5.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game. Forward DeJuan Coleman averages 4.3 points and 4.2 rebounds per game but is out for the season with a knee injury. Michael Gbinije, Tyler Roberson, and Baye-Moussa Keita also get significant minutes in the rotation.

Syracuse is 11-4-1 ATS after a straight up win, and overall, 10-4-1 against teams with winning records, 5-2-1 in ACC games, and 1-3-1 at home. There are no trends for Clemson.

Both of these teams allow less than 60 points a game. With these two defenses, this game could be played in the low 50’s or even the 40’s. With such a low scoring game, 12.5 seems like a lot of points. Syracuse has played several close games recently, because as one of two undefeated teams left they always get teams best efforts. I think Syracuse wins a close low-scoring game.

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