Houston vs. Syracuse Projected Odds: Our Spread, Total for NCAA Tournament Sweet 16
Ben Solomon/NCAA Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Quentin Grimes (24).
#2 Houston vs. #11 Syracuse Odds
How & Syracuse Match Up
|All stats via KenPom.|
What To Know About Houston
There isn’t much that Kelvin Sampson’s Houston Cougars don’t do well. They rank ninth in both adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency, according to KenPom and are sixth overall.
There’s really no weaknesses on a defense that has so much versatility and takes away everything in the paint. Houston is one of the country’s elite teams while playing at the 320th-ranked adjusted tempo. Quentin Grimes is the leading scorer at 17.9 points for a team that is full of players between 6-foot-5 and 6-foot-8, including do-everything senior wing DeJon Jarreau, who recently recorded the first Cougar triple-double since Bo Outlaw in 1993.
They are also extremely well-schooled under Kelvin Sampson. And like most Sampson, they are absolutely fantastic on the offensive glass — despite lacking elite size.
The Cougars’ size and athleticism will be a problem for any team, and they’re definitely going to be a contender for a Final Four run. Houston, we have a problem and it’s Houston for the rest of this field. — Matt Trebby
What To Know About Syracuse
While Jim Boeheim’s team will always be known primarily for its 2-3 zone, the Orange’s 21st-rated adjusted offensive efficiency, according to KenPom, is what has led them to success this season.
Syracuse has three players averaging more than 14 points this season, led by coach’s kid, Buddy Boeheim. When Alan Griffin is on, this offense is extremely dangerous, especially since the emergence of Kadary Richmond, who provides much needed depth and an elite creator in the half court.
The Orange won six of eight before dropping a buzzer-beating heartbreaker to Virginia in the ACC Tournament, so this is a team that will enter the tournament with plenty of confidence and momentum. And we have seen Syracuse sneak into the tournament and make runs before.
A unique zone will always be tricky to prepare for in a tournament setting against non-conference teams that aren’t used to seeing it, especially with shorter preparation times.
So while this Syracuse zone doesn’t have as elite of length as some of Boeheim’s zones in the past, it still has the unfamiliarity factor working in its favor. Teams that struggle from the outside or that lack an effective point man at the top of the key will not want to see Syracuse anywhere near their name on the bracket. — Matt Trebby