March 5, 2016 (10:57 AM ET)
There are two college picks.
1: Take Syracuse at +3 spread against Florida State for 3% of the bankroll.
This is an extremely important game for the Syracuse Orange and one that they simply cannot afford to lose. The Orange are currently one of the many teams currently on the bubble in terms of making the NCAA Tournament. A loss in this contest against what has been a poorly viewed Florida State teams would be disastrous for this team at this particular moment. Jim Boeheim is a veteran coach and no doubt understands the gravity of the situation in front of him. He has been in this position before and we expect his experience and leadership to trickle down from him and resonant with the players. We expect to see an all-out effort from the Orange in this contest.
These two teams met earlier this season in Syracuse and the Orange dominated from start to finish. We don't believe that is a fluke. Syracuse is the much better all-around team. Florida State certainly has talent, but they are very young. The players who have been making the most impact for the Seminoles are two talented freshmen. There is no question that they will be players to watch in the upcoming years, however Syracuse has one of the most experienced and talented defenses in the conference. They play fundamental defense extremely well. The "Zone" that Boeheim likes to run is one of the toughest to navigate and with freshman guards handling the basketball, we wouldn't be surprised to see them struggle and Syracuse force turnovers. The Orange are also physical on the glass and are an extremely solid rebounding team, something that the Seminoles are not and have struggled with this season.
While Syracuse has shown some struggles on the offensive side of the ball at times and area that we expect that they will be able to exploit is the three-point shot. Syracuse has shown that they can be deadly from downtown and when their shots are falling, they are an incredibly difficult team to beat. The Orange shoot over 35% from beyond the arc, which is almost exactly what the Seminoles have given up this season. If Syracuse can get their shots to fall from 3-point range, the Seminoles will have a hard time keeping pace in this contest. This is also a series that has been dominated by the Orange in recent meetings. Syracuse has not only won the last 3 meetings, but have done so convincingly with each win coming by double digits. While we do expect a much more competitive matchup this afternoon, Syracuse is the team that has more on the line in this contest while the Seminoles are likely simply playing things out in anticipation of next season. We believe the Orange are live dogs in this game and can win it, but even if the Seminoles do get the W, we expect Syracuse to keep things close until the final buzzer, at which the points will likely prove valuable.
2: Take Virginia Tech at +7 spread (buy half a point) against Miami Florida for 3% of the bankroll.
The Miami Hurricanes are arguably the best team in the ACC conference, or at least they are playing like it. They recently put on arguably their best performance of the season last week when they went into South Bend and not only defeated, but dominated a Notre Dame team that was 13-1 on their home floor this season. How easily Miami won that game, no doubt caught the attention of the betting public and thrust Miami back into the national spotlight. Miami has a chance to claim at least a share of the ACC regular season championship with a win in this game and there is no question that a majority of people expect them to get it. While Miami is certainly the better overall team in this contest, it would be a mistake if they came into this contest over-confident as Virginia Tech is a team that should not be looked over at the moment.
Virginia Tech is playing their best basketball of the season and have won their last 4 straight contests, with their most recent being an "upset" of the Pittsburgh Panthers on this same court. Virginia Tech is 12-5 on the season in Blacksburg and even hold a win over highly ranked Virginia. The Hokies last loss came on the road at the hands of these same Miami Hurricanes. This will certainly be a revenge game for the VT players as Miami managed to come away with a 65-49 victory in Miami. What we find interesting however is that in the first meeting, these two teams matchup up rather well and had very similar statistics for the game. Both teams had around the same number of free throw attempts, rebounds, fouls, steals, assists; it was a very evenly matched contest, however the Hokies suffered a poor shooting night where they only managed to shoot 30% from the field in that contest. With the Hokies now being at home and looking to play the role of spoiler, we expect a much better shooting performance from them this afternoon.
There is no question that Miami has been almost unbeatable on their home court, so the Hokies performance in the first meeting should not be much of a concern. Miami hasn't been a team that has necessarily played well on the road this season other than their most recent performance against Notre Dame. Notre Dame is slumping and Miami desperately needed that victory as well, however we expect their performance to regress much closer to the mean on the second of back-to-back road contests. Miami may be 20-5 on the season but it is certainly worth mentioning that 4 of their 5 losses this season have come on the road. While the Canes will certainly be motivated, it's also worth mentioning that of the teams who are currently battling for a share of the ACC title, Miami is the only team slated against an unranked opponent.
At this point, Miami likely does not care whether they win this game in blowout fashion or by a single point. They are simply looking for a win. With Virginia Tech playing their best basketball of the season and with revenge in mind, we expect that they will put everything they have into this game with it being their last game of the season in front of their fans. Even if Virginia Tech doesn't pull off the upset, we do expect them to keep this game competitive in which the generous amount of points will likely come into play.
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