After two huge upsets in the first-round of the 2016 College Basketball Tournament, Syracuse and Middle Tennessee State University will meet this Sunday in the second round at 6:10 p.m. (Eastern) at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. The Orange, the No. 10 seed in the NCAA’s Midwest Region, bested Dayton 70-51 on Friday, while Middle Tennessee State secured a spot in the Round of 32 with a 90-81 upset of the No. 2 seed Michigan State Spartans. So let’s get on the March Madness betting action and check the odds for this thrilling match.
Syracuse vs Middle Tennessee State NCAA Basketball Odds and Preview
When: Sunday, March 20, 2016, 6:10 PM ET
Where: Scottrade Arena, St. Louis, MO
Radio: Syracuse ISP Sports Network
Live Stream: NCAA March Madness Live
NCAAB Odds: Syracuse (-6)
Did you know that 97% of the brackets filed on ESPN.com had Michigan State beating Middle Tennessee State in the first round? And 22% had them going to the final of the tournament?
Not so fast. Middle Tennessee State, the #15 seed in their region, knocked off the mighty Spartans in the first round, 90-81. They will meet another team that pulled off a surprise win in the #10 seed Syracuse Orange, who beat #7 seed Dayton in the first round quite easily, 70-51.
Why should you bet on the Syracuse Orange?
Syracuse started off the season in terrible form, thanks in part to the ridiculous way the NCAA handled Jim Boeheim’s nine-game suspension, initially having it take place during ACC games and then deciding that it would start sooner, throwing the program into chaos since the season had already started.
Since Boeheim’s return, the Orange have played more like themselves. The Orange play a 2-3 zone, which might make you think they will have a hard time rebounding, but they dominated Dayton 45-28 on the boards. Tyler Roberson grabbed 18 rebounds all by himself. Malachi Robinson dropped 21 points on the Flyers, and if those two are going well, they should reach the Sweet Sixteen easily.
Why should you put your money on Middle Tennessee State?
Middle Tennessee State has now won seven games in a row. In the upset over Michigan State, they had three players hit more than half of their shots from downtown. They also snatched 14 turnovers from the Spartans, using a harassing defense to force the Michigan State guards into turnovers. They opened a 15-2 lead in the first minutes of the game and led the entire way. Syracuse has a tougher defense than Michigan State, though, so the Blue Raiders will have a harder time jumping out to that sort of advantage.
Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction
I like the Orange to use their 2-3 defense (kind of an outlier in the man-to-man era) to frustrate the Blue Raiders. I also don’t see Middle Tennessee continuing to hoist the three with that much efficiency. I’m predicting a Syracuse win by the score of 74-64.