UNC vs Syracuse Odds, Pick: Tar Heels to Cruise?
CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA – JANUARY 22: Elliot Cadeau #2 of the North Carolina Tar Heels moves the ball against the Wake Forest Demon Deaconsduring the game at the Dean E. Smith Center on January 22, 2024 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The Tar Heels won 85-64. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
UNC vs Syracuse Odds
The top team in the ACC heads to The JMA Wireless Dome to take on Syracuse.
It's a real shame the Carrier Dome is no longer the name of it. The history that has gone down in that place is endless.
Still, playing in The Dome is never easy for visiting teams, and I'm fascinated to see how the Heels fare after a hectic week.
These two played in Chapel Hill a month ago, resulting in a 36-point Tar Heel win, easily their biggest blowout win in conference play this year.
Here's UNC vs. Syracuse odds and a pick.
North Carolina is off its busiest week of the year.
The Heels proved victorious in a monster College GameDay matchup at home over Duke but lost to Clemson in their next game. To be fair, it's no surprise North Carolina dropped a game in a prominent letdown spot.
The Heels managed a big bounce-back win in Coral Gables, overwhelming a talented but flawed Miami team.
North Carolina dominated Syracuse the last time these two matched up, dominating every phase en route to a 36-point win. The Heels showed a clear athletic advantage, and stud guard RJ Davis leveraged his elite dribble-penetration shot-creation in a 22-point effort.
The Heels run a pace-and-post offense, leaning on Davis, Elliot Cadeau and Cormac Ryan's up-tempo transition ball-handling to get the ball to Armando Bacot in the post. In the last matchup, the Heels scored 32 points on 27 transition possessions (1.19 PPP) and 11 on nine post-up possessions (1.22 PPP).
UNC still has those schematic advantages over Syracuse, even if the game's location changes. The Heels' athletic and physical advantages should again be a huge problem for Syracuse.
Syracuse is among the nation's streakiest teams.
Games usually boil down to how the Orange shoot. They're shooting 37% from 3 in 15 wins this year to 24% in nine losses.
This makes Syracuse a tough team to handicap. The Orange have days where they're lights out from deep and days where they can't hit water if they fell out of a boat.
For example, they shot 4-for-19 (21%) from deep in Chapel Hill but canned 22 of their 49 attempts (45%) across their next two games, wins over Pittsburgh and Miami.
Syracuse has some internal issues, specifically the Benny Williams situation. I'm worried that will be too distracting in a huge home matchup with one of the nation's top teams.
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Trying to pick and choose when Syracuse will shoot well seems like a failing strategy.
But, schematically, I think North Carolina has too many good matchups to exploit. Syracuse's interior defense is vulnerable (.94 post-up PPP allowed, 17th percentile), and Bacot should overwhelm Maliq Brown on almost every possession.
I understand if you want to bet Syracuse in a home-court revenge spot. But I can't dismiss North Carolina's inherent schematic advantages.
North Carolina should score at will on the interior, so I'm laying the points on the road with the Heels.