Syracuse Orange vs. San Diego State Aztecs – March Madness (March 19, 2021)
Friday night winds down with what appears to be one of the best matchups on paper. Syracuse has the pedigree and the coach that everybody has heard of, plus we’re all trying to find an 11 seed to slide past a #6 in our bracket.
On the contrary, San Diego State hasn’t lost since January 16th and has quietly turned into one of the most consistent basketball programs in America. Their 53-6 record since the start of 2019 is only bettered by Gonzaga.
There’s a whole lot more to unpack before we get to a Syracuse vs. San Diego State prediction.
- What: #6 vs. #11 matchup in the Midwest Region
- When: 9:40 pm EDT, 3/19/21
- Where: Hinkle Fieldhouse – Indianapolis, IN
- Coverage: CBS
- Line: SDSU -3
- Money Line: Syracuse +130, SDSU -155
- Total: 139
Syracuse Preview – Get to Know the Orange
- BPI: 33
- NET: 40
Syracuse is going to live and die by their zone, that hasn’t changed for years. They shoot a lot of threes (2nd most in the ACC), but they only knock down 33.9% of their attempts. They’re 10th in the ACC in FG%.
Led by Buddy Boeheim, the Orange have three players averaging at least 14 points per game.
Mark Dolezaj is a 6’10” center giving Syracuse 35 minutes a game; he shoots 83.9% from the line and is a really intelligent passer. The problem is things start thinning out rather quickly after the top 4.
The ’Cuse typically only play seven to eight players in a game and struggled against better competition. Hence, they were a bubble team whose fate was left in the hands of the Selection Committee.
SDSU Preview – Get to Know the Aztecs
- BPI: 18
- NET: 18
A team some are pegging as one of the Final Four sleepers, the Aztecs aspirations are a lot deeper than just getting past the Orange in the first round. SDSU went 30-2 last season. They’re 23-4 this time around and saunter into the Tourney winners of 14 consecutive games.
This group has swagger, they shoot the ball terrifically, and they play hard-nosed defense from start to finish.
Their leader is Matt Mitchell – this season’s MWC Player of the Year and someone who can especially hurt Syracuse in the middle of their zone. The 6’6” small forward has a top-notch midrange game but can also get to the bucket at will. There he can finish with either hand or kick it out to one of the Aztecs primetime shooters. Jordan Schakel is among the top marksmen in the nation (46.7% 3PT shooter), and Terrell Gomez isn’t too far behind.
What’s peculiar to me is that SDSU went into the final week ranked 19th in the country in both polls. They won their conference tournament and wound up as the #6 seed in the Midwest. On the other hand, Tennessee was unranked and lost in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament, and yet they were seeded 5th ahead of San Diego State.
Syracuse vs. San Diego State Betting Pick
The Orange woke up on Selection Sunday not knowing if they’d be in the Big Dance. Once Jim Boeheim learned that his team was in, the excitement was short-lived.
I agree this is a serious challenge for the ‘Cuse. In fact, the Aztecs winning this game is one of my best first round bets of March Madness.
More evidence to signal the distinct separation between these two teams can be found by peeking at the odds to win the Midwest Region.
- San Diego State +900 to Win the Midwest
- Syracuse +3800 to Win the Midwest
Considering Brian Dutcher and his crew have had plenty of time to prepare for the Orange, I’m latching onto the team who’s been much more reliable all season long.
San Diego State to Win-155
More First Round March Madness Picks in 2021
Betting on Syracuse vs. San Diego State isn’t your only chance to get money down on a really good team that hails from the Mountain West. While Colorado State and Boise State were relegated to the NIT, Utah State heads into their 6/11 matchup (South Region) with a lot to look forward to.
The Aggies are getting four points against a suspect team from Lubbock; you may want to take a deeper look into the upcoming tilt.