Free pick for Hurricanes at Orange
Tuesday night's ACC action in Upstate New York features a couple of coaches who are known for the defensive systems they employ - Jim Boeheim of the Syracuse Orange is a proponent of the matchup zone, while Jim Larranaga of the Miami Hurricanes is not as celebrated (except when leading George Mason on an improbable run to the Final Four), but has nonetheless been effective with his "Scramble" defense.
Syracuse and Miami is not a traditional rivalry, but they are members of the same conference, and they meet at the Carrier Dome on Tuesday night.
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Miami Hurricanes at Syracuse Orange, 7 PM ET (ACC Network)
ACC Basketball Odds: Syracuse -4.5, Total 140
Syracuse is the type of team that, in its matchup zone, will invite teams to shoot over them if they can. And that is what opponents do - to the tune of 44.4% of all field goal attempts. Of course, that kind of thing needs to work in order to beat them. But the Orange does find a way to defend long balls, allowing just 29.5% from beyond the arc.
Let's explain that teams who can shoot lights-out have the ability to send Boeheim to a "Plan B." However, Miami just happens to be a substandard team shooting long-range 28%). In fact, even though the 'Canes pulled an upset earlier in the season against Purdue, they made just one of 17 triples, in that game. Yikes! It's a good thing for them that in the process of beating the Boilermakers and Louisville, they allowed just 7-of-45 treys.
Is help on the way? Well, maybe, if the 'Canes can get back 5-7 guard Chris Lykes, who can shoot from the outside but has missed the last two games with an injury.
You know what? They may need him, because they only had seven members on the rotation on hand in their Louisville win, which makes that a very gallant effort.
Isaiah Wong got hot for Miami in that Louisville game (well, he was 3-of-5 from downtown), but prior to that, he was just two for his last 14 three-point attempts.
Syracuse does a great job from the free throw line; they are, in fact, 14th in the nation in that category. But the Orange, like Miami, can't seem to "squeeze" out a lot of long-range firepower, hitting just 31.4% of triples.
What we're trying to say is that the triple is not a real reliable scoring option for either side.
And both of these squads have size and shot-blockers. With Anthony Walker and seven-footer Nysier Brooks, Miami can provide an impediment. But most notably, Syracuse's Quincy Guerrier has swatted away nine shots in the last two games. What Jim Boeheim's zone DOES allow opponents to is grab offensive rebounds, because it's tough to block out in this kind of scheme,as we saw in their recent loss to Pittsburgh. And if Miami was a better team on the offensive boards we might have more faith in them.
Boeheim called his team's 96-76 defeat to Pitt the "worst defensive performance since I've been here." So he'll crack the whip, so to speak. As it is, we're going to look for a game where each team has some difficulty putting the ball in the hoop.
The Play: UNDER 140
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