East Regional Semifinal Betting Preview: #1 Indiana Hoosiers vs #4 Syracuse Orange

2013 NCAA Tournament – East Regional Semifinals
#1 Indiana Hoosiers vs #4 Syracuse Orange
Thursday, March 28, 2013, 9:45 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Verizon Center – Washington, DC
Opening Line: Indiana -6
Current Line: Indiana -5 1/2
Opening Total: 135
Current Total: 136
Opening Money Line: Indiana -250 / Syracuse +210
Current Money Line: Indiana -240 / Syracuse +200

Indiana is a 5 point favorite against Syracuse in the east regional semifinal in Washington.
Indiana is a 5.5 point favorite against Syracuse in the East regional semifinal in Washington.

Many thought the 28-6 Indiana Hoosiers would be the #1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament, and play in the Midwest regional in Indianapolis. However, some late losses in the season bumped the Hoosiers to the #3 overall seed, and sent them to the East Region in Washington, DC. Indiana won the Big Ten title outright with a 14-4 record, but were upset by Wisconsin 68-56 in the Big Ten semifinals. The Hoosiers beat #16 seed James Madison 83-62 in the second round Friday. Indiana escaped with a 58-52 win over #9 seed Temple in the third round last Sunday. The Hoosiers closed the game against Temple on a 10-0 run. Both games were in Dayton, Ohio

Next up for the Hoosiers is #4 Syracuse Thursday in Washington, DC. The winner will face either #2 Miami or #3 Marquette in the East Regional Final Saturday.The 27-9 Syracuse Orange looked to be a one seed in the NCAA tournament at the end of February. However, the Orange lost 4 of 5 games to close out the regular season. The Orange ended up tied for 5th in the Big East with  Notre Dame with 11-7 records. The Orange did rebound with 3 straight wins in the Big East tournament before losing to Louisville in the Championship game 78-61.

In the NCAA tournament the #4 seeded Syracuse Orange destroyed #13 Montana 81-34 in the second round in the East region. It was the largest blowout by a team seeded #3 or lower in the history of the NCAA tournament. Syracuse beat #12 seed California 66-60 in San Jose in the third round last Saturday. Despite being a 12 seed Cal was rewarded with a virtual home game just 40 miles from their campus. Both teams shot under 40% in an ugly offensive game.

Syracuse leads the series 3-1 against Indiana  including in the 1998 Maui Invitational Championship game, the last time they played. The two schools haven’t played in the NCAA tournament since Indiana beat Syracuse in the 1987 National Championship game.

Indiana is coached by Tom Crean. The only losses came to Butler by 2 points in overtime in Indianapolis and at home to Wisconsin and Ohio State, and on the road at Illinois and Minnesota. Indiana has key wins over Georgia & Georgetown in a tournament in Brooklyn, Ball St, North Carolina, Minnesota, Penn St, Michigan St, Michigan twice, Nebraska and Purdue,  along with road wins at  Iowa twice, Penn St, Northwestern, Purdue, Ohio St and Michigan St, and Illinois.  The Hoosiers are 17-15-1 ATS and the total is 15-16 this season.

Indiana is outscoring teams 80-62 this season. The Hoosiers are third in the nation in scoring. Indiana shoots 48.6% from the field and 40.8% from 3 point range. The Hoosiers are 6th or better in the country in both categories. Indiana makes 74.7% of their free throws and is #25 nationally in that category. The Hoosiers average 38.4 rebounds per game and give up 26.6 per game. Indiana is #26 in rebounding, and #18 in rebounds allowed. Hoosier opponents are shooting 38.9% from the field and 30.3% from 3 point range. Indiana is in the top 32 in both categories. The Hoosiers average 14 assists, 7 steals, 4 blocks, and 13 turnovers.

Forward Cody Zeller averages 16.7 points, 8 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, 1.1 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. Forward Victor Oladipo averages 13.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.1 steals, and 2.1 assists. Forward Christian Watford averages 12.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Guard Jordan Hulls averages 9.9 points, 3 assists, 2.3 rebounds, and 1 steal per game. He is probable with a shoulder injury. Forward Will Sheehey averages 9.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1 steal per game. Kevin Ferrell, Remy Abell, and Jeremy Hollowell also get significant minutes. Forward Austin Etherington (knee) is out indefinitely.

Syracuse is coached by Jim Boeheim. The Orange have losses to Temple in Madison Square Garden, at Villanova, at Pittsburgh, at Connecticut, Georgetown twice, Louisville twice, and Marquette. The Georgetown loss snapped a 38 game home winning streak for Syracuse. The Orange have key wins over San Diego St on an aircraft carrier, Princeton, at Arkansas, Eastern Michigan Long Beach St, and Detroit. In conference Syracuse has home wins over Rutgers, Villanova, Cincinnati, Notre Dame, St. John’s, and Providence, along with road wins at South Florida, Providence,   Louisville, and Seton Hall. The Orange are 18-15 ATS and the total is 15-16 this season.

Syracuse is outscoring teams 72-59 this season. The Orange are #30 in points allowed.  Syracuse is shooting 44.1% from the field and 33.7% from 3 point range. The Orange make 67.5% of their free throws. Syracuse averages 38.7 rebounds per game and allows 30.5 to opponents. Syracuse is #17 in rebounding nationally. Orange opponents are shooting 37.3% from the field and 28.9% from 3 point range. Syracuse is in the top ten nationally in both categories. The Orange average 15 assists, 9 steals, 6 blocks and 13 turnovers a game.

C.J. Fair averages 14.5 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1 block a game. Brandon Triche averages 13.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.4 steals per game.  James Southerland averages 13.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.5 steals and 1 block per game. He missed  6 games due to being ineligible. Michael Carter-Williams averages 11.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 7.6 assists, and 2.7 steals a game.  Rakeem Christmas, DaJuan Coleman, Trevor Cooney, Baye Keita and Jerami Grant make up the rest of the rotation.

Syracuse is 8-3 ATS in non-conference games, 2-5 in NCAA tournament games, and 1-4 against Big Ten teams.

Indiana is 5-1 ATS in Thursday games, 4-1 against Big East teams, 16-6-1 in non-conference games, 2-5-1 against teams with winning records, and overall, 7-18-2 in neutral site games, 1-4 after a straight up win, and 0-3-1 in NCAA Tournament games. 

This will be a battle between Indiana’s elite offense, and Syracuse’s elite zone defense. Indiana has struggled with teams that control the tempo like Wisconsin, and Syracuse certainly can slow it down. Still I think the Hoosiers find a way to win, especially if Syracuse shoots poorly like they did against Cal.

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