No. 10 seed Syracuse, a team that started 0-4 in ACC play and went 1-5 to finish the regular season, is making its way to the Sweet 16. It’s the 14th time that the Orange have reached this stage of the NCAA Tournament and they’ll now be trying to book a ticket to the final round of the Midwest Regionals at the expense of the 11th-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs. Can Syracuse succeed in doing so? Or will the Bulldogs be the ones advancing to the next round?
Read on below for a detailed breakdown of this intriguing matchup. You can also click here for our preview of the regional semifinal between No. 1 North Carolina and No. 5 Indiana.
March Madness No. 10 Syracuse vs. No. 11 Gonzaga Preview
Where: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
When: Friday, March 25, 9:40 PM ET
Line: Syracuse Orange (+4.5) vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs (-4.5); total: 134.5 – view all NCAA Basketball lines
TV Broadcast: CBS
Betting on the Syracuse Orange
Richardson put up 21 points in the win against Dayton, while Gbinije took the reins in their latest win versus Middle Tennessee with 23 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the floor. These two, however, will have to continue working hard for the points when they oppose the Gonzaga Bulldogs, who have held their last two opponents below 60 points, in the semifinals of the Midwest Region.
That said, the onus is on Trevor Cooney, the Orange’s third-leading scorer (12.8 PPG), to continue making his presence known. He’s managed to score in double-digits in the past two games, including a solid effort (12 points, six boards, four dimes) in the victory over the Blue Raiders.
Meanwhile, the Orange ought to be very mindful of Kyle Wiltjer in this one. The senior forward is one of the country’s top-point getters with 20.7 PPG this season. He also relocated his stroke in Gonzaga’s win over Utah, going 7-of-10 from the field for 17 points.
Syracuse, which is giving up 65.3 points, is 5-5 SU and 7-3 ATS in its previous 10 contests.
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Betting on the Gonzaga Bulldogs
Speaking of Kyle Wiltjer, he’s not the only player that makes the Gonzaga Bulldogs such a dangerous team. They still have a handful of weapons in Domantas Sabonis (17.5 PPG), Eric McClellan (10.9 PPG) and Josh Perkins (10.2 PPG) to put their trust on. All three are putting up double-figures this season and Sabonis, in particular, enters this matchup with the Syracuse Orange riding on some serious momentum.
Sabonis notched his second-straight double-double (19 points, 10 rebounds) in their second-round victory over third-seed Utah. He should be able to continue delivering the points and gobble up crucial offensive boards against a relatively smaller Syracuse squad.
McClellan, meanwhile, will be striving to build on his best game in the tournament thus far. He went 9-of-12 from the field for a game-high 22 points in the win versus the Utes.
However, defense will arguably be the biggest key to their success here. The Bulldogs have done a splendid job in limiting their last two opponents below their usual averages and it’ll be interesting to see if they can keep up the defensive intensity against an Orange club that is led by the likes of Michael Gbinije, who is averaging 17.6 points this season.
Gonzaga is 8-2 SU and 7-2-1 ATS in its past 10 games overall.
Syracuse (+4.5) wins it, 70-66.