College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions VCU vs. Syracuse: Why to Bet on Orange
Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images. Pictured: Jimmy Boeheim
- Syracuse takes on VCU in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis from the Bahamas.
- The Orange just gave up 100 points in a loss to Colgate at home, while the Rams are struggling mightily offensively.
- Kyle Remillard previews the game and offers up his best bet.
VCU vs. Syracuse Odds
-105o / -115u
-105o / -115u
Syracuse sneaking into the NCAA Tournament from the bubble and then making a run is becoming a yearly tradition as common as eating turkey on Thanksgiving.
Last season Jim Boeheim’s group finished 18-10 and snuck into the Big Dance as an 11-seed. The Orange proceeded to defeat San Diego State and West Virginia before the flames were doused by the Houston Cougars in the Sweet 16.
Syracuse is 2-1 on this young season and will look to bounce back after allowing 100 points to Colgate last time out. It was the first time the Orange have allowed triple digits since January of 2018 — a double overtime loss.
No team was hit harder with COVID in my opinion than the VCU Rams because it quite literally ended their season. The Rams were sent home after multiple positive tests days before their NCAA Tournament game.
Mike Rhoades’ team moves on from Nah’Shon Hyland, who was selected in the first round of the 2021 NBA draft by the Denver Nuggets. Through four games without him the Rams’ offense has stalled, averaging just 50.8 points per game.
Things won’t get easier for the VCU Rams, who will now need to find a source of offense against Syracuse’s patented zone defense.
The Rams are surely missing the production of Hyland, who averaged 19.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and shot over 38% on 3-point attempts last season.
Matters only got worse for the program after Adrian Baldwin Jr. tore his ACL in the offseason.
The missing production of those two offensively has left a void that seems too big to fill through four games. VCU is averaging just 50 points per game and the offense ranks 236th in terms of efficiency. The group has connected on 44.5% of its field goal attempts, which ranks 271st in the nation.
Vince Williams Jr. has proven to be the only shot maker after hitting 10 of his 23 attempts from behind the arc. The rest of the roster has shot a combined 5-for-34 from outside (15%).
The Syracuse zone forces opponents to take 59% of its shot attempts from outside, a major concern for VCU.
The Rams have been abysmal at taking care of the basketball and rank outside the top 350 in turnover percentage.
The defense is what has kept the Rams competitive through the first two weeks. No opponent has scored more than 54 points this season against VCU and the unit has held opponents to 36% from the field, good for fifth in the nation.
The Rams have dominated the 3-point line, holding teams to just 21% from outside. They held a strong Vanderbilt team to only 37 points in the whole game.
If the Rams want to stay competitive in this matchup, it’s going to have to be on the defensive end of the floor.
The Syracuse offense moves on from some vital pieces that helped it in last year’s traditional NCAA Tournament run. The Orange lose three starters in Marek Dolezaj, Quincy Guerrier and Alan Griffin, who combined average 36.8 points per game.
They do bring back their leading scorer in Buddy Boeheim, the son of the head coach. And Syracuse thought there was room for one more Boeheim in the program as big brother Jimmy Boeheim transferred over from Cornell for his redshirt senior season.
The offense has been electric through three games — averaging 85.7 points — and has seen nearly all five starters averaging double figures. Buddy leads the charge putting up 20 per game, with big brother trailing behind him at 14 a game (while shooting 59% from the field).
Joseph Girard III has been on fire from outside hitting 13 of his 16 3-point attempts on the year, good for 81%. It’s unlikely he can keep that up, though, as he averaged below 33% from outside in both his first two seasons.
The Orange own the 16th-best offensive efficiency and have been shooting lights out. They have hit 59% of their field-goal attempts (16th in the nation) while converting 43% of their 3-point shots (15th in the nation).
They’re a top-25 unit in terms of taking care of the basketball and have assisted on 59% of their made field goals.
Syracuse lost its last game against Colgate after allowing the Raiders to score 100 points. Syracuse led by 17 early in the game, but Colgate caught fire from the outside, hitting 42% of its 43 3-pointers.
VCU vs. Syracuse Betting Pick
The shooting woes for VCU are going to be put to the test in this matchup. The Syracuse zone forces opponents to settle for outside jump shots, as 58.7% of the shots the Orange have faced have been 3-point attempts.
That doesn’t bode well for a Rams team that ranks outside the top 300 in 3-point percentage and is hitting less than 15% when Williams is removed from the equation.
I expect a strong effort from Syracuse on the defensive end after allowing Colgate to hit the century mark in its last game. VCU will need to dominate defensively if it wants to stay competitive, but the shot-making ability from Syracuse will prove to be too much.
The Boeheim brothers and Girard are averaging more points per game than the entire VCU roster through four games.
I don’t like Syracuse in this spot, I love them. I anticipate the Orange winning handily in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.