College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Syracuse vs. North Carolina (Monday, February 28)

College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Syracuse vs. North Carolina (Monday, February 28) article feature image

Peyton Williams/UNC/Getty Images. Pictured: Armando Bacot.

  • North Carolina hosts Syracuse as it is desperate for a win for its bubble status.
  • The Tar Heels have been dominant offensively, but their defense has struggled all season long.
  • Our analyst breaks down the matchup and offers up his best bet.

Syracuse vs. North Carolina Odds

Monday, Feb. 28
7 p.m. ET
Syracuse Odds
-110o / -110u
North Carolina Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

For many years, Syracuse and North Carolina have had their sidelines patrolled by two legendary coaches in Jim Boeheim and Roy Williams. As members of the ACC, Williams was 10-3 against Boeheim, including a win in the 2016 Final Four. However, this year's matchup will be the first in the series with Boeheim vs. first-year UNC head coach Hubert Davis.

The programs will head into this matchup trending in opposite directions. Syracuse lost to Duke 97-72 on Saturday. It was the Orange's second loss in a row as they fell to 15-14 overall and 9-9 in ACC play on the season.

North Carolina completed the season sweep of its rival NC State with a 84-74 win on Saturday. It is now 21-8 overall and 13-5 in conference. The Tar Heels still have some work to do to secure a bid in the NCAA Tournament, but they are currently projected to be as a 12-seed according to the Bracket Matrix. It will be UNC's last game before it closes the regular season at Duke.

Monday night's matchup will feature two top-25 offenses and shaky defenses. Could that lead to a shootout?

Syracuse Orange

Syracuse has been potent offensively this season. It ranks 16th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency and fourth in scoring in the ACC. The Orange have five double-digit scorers, led by Jim Boeheim's sons.

Buddy averages 19.1 points per game, which ranks second in scoring in the ACC. He is a volume three-point shooter and shoots 33.2% on 8.1 attempts per game. Jimmy averages 13.4 points per game to go along with six rebounds. He is more efficient from deep than his brother at 38%, but he only takes 2.7 per game.

Guard Joseph Girard averages 13.4 points, 4.2 assists, and he shoots 41.1% from beyond the arc. Forward Cole Swider averages 12.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. He shoots 39.4% from beyond the arc. Syracuse is one of the best three-point shooting teams in the country. It takes nearly 24 per game and ranks 38th nationally in three-point percentage at 37.1.

Syracuse ranks 221st in adjusted defensive efficiency and 312th in defensive rating. The Orange allow 74.8 points per game, which ranks last in the ACC in scoring defense and 310th nationally.  It can be difficult to rebound at a high level when primarily in a 2-3 zone, as is the case with Syracuse. The Orange rank 328th nationally in rebounds allowed per game and 321st in defensive rebounding percentage.

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North Carolina Tar Heels

UNC can also score in bunches and can attack opponents inside and out. Center Armando Bacot does most of his damage inside. The junior is averaging 16.3 points, 12.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks. Bacot is coming off a 28-point, 18-rebound and five-block performance in the win over NC State on Saturday. He is third nationally in rebounding and leads the ACC in field goal percentage.

Sophomore guard Caleb Love is averaging 15.3 points per game and leads the team with 3.7 assists and 1.2 steals per game. He shoots 38.8% from deep on 5.7 attempts per game. Guard R.J. Davis averages 13.2 points and 3.3 assists, and forward Brady Manek averages 13.9 points and 5.7 rebounds.

Davis and Manek are also potent three-point threats. Davis shoots 39.8% on 4.2 attempts, while Manek shoots 38.5% on 5.8 attempts per game. UNC shoots 37.3% from deep as a team which ranks 36th nationally and fourth in the ACC, just ahead of Syracuse. The Tar Heels are 25th in adjusted offensive efficiency.

North Carolina is 18th nationally in rebounds per game and outrebounds its opponents by 7.6 boards per game. It should have a big advantage on the glass against Syracuse.

North Carolina had its fair share of defensive issues at the start of the year. It still ranks 87th in adjusted defensive efficiency, but in conference play, it is fourth in the category.

Syracuse vs. North Carolina Betting Pick

This matchup will feature six of the top-21 scorers in the ACC and five of the top-10 players in threes made in the conference. There could easily be 10 three-pointers made by each team. In particular, UNC is a bad matchup against Syracuse's zone. In addition to the three-point shooting, UNC could work Manek at the top of the key as a zone buster. 

Should the Tar Heels have a bad shooting night, Bacot should feast on the offensive glass. If you have access to player props, he will definitely be worth a look if you can grab over 12.5 rebounds.

North Carolina may also be without forward Leaky Black, who hyper-extended his right knee on Saturday. He is one of the top defensive players in the ACC and his replacement, Puff Johnson, while a better shooter, is not the same caliber defender.

When you combine these factors, I like the over in what should be a high-scoring game. Play it up to 160.

Pick: Over 157 | Play to 160

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Doug Ziefel
Jun 23, 2024 UTC