#10 Syracuse (22-13) vs #1 Virginia (29-7)
When: Sunday, March 27th 2016
Where: United Center, Chicago, IL
Time: 6:09 ET | TV: TBS
Atlantic Coast Conference foes meet Sunday in Chicago in the Elite Eight as the Syracuse Orange take on the Virginia Cavaliers. Syracuse finished ninth in conference play during the regular season and dropped five of their last six, but are just one win away from the Final Four as a tenth seed. After handling both Pittsburgh and Middle Tennessee State in easy fashion, the Orange had to come back from nine points down late to defeat Gonzaga 63-60 on Friday. Leading scorer Michael Gbinije (17.8 points per game) led the way with 20 points for Syracuse and has scored over in two straight. Trevor Cooney has broken free from a late-season slump by averaging 13.3 points and shooting 50% from 3-point range in the tournament. The Syracuse zone defense has been a problem opponents in this tournament holding them to 53.7 points a game. Coach Jim Boeheim is in the Elite Eight for the seventh time and is seeking his fifth Final Four berth. The Orange are 238th nationally in field goal percentage at 42.7%.
Virginia finished runner-up to North Carolina in the ACC regular season and once again in the conference tournament. Now the Cavaliers are one win away from possibly meeting them again in the Final Four if they can get by Syracuse. Virginia shot 56.1% in Friday night’s 84-71 win over Iowa State and have scored above their season average (71.2) in all three tournament games. ACC Player of the Year Malcolm Brogdon has been a little inconsistent in his tournament career, but other guys are picking up the slack. Anthony Gill had 23 points and eight rebounds versus Iowa State and is averaging 20.3 points on 71.9% shooting in this year’s tournament and has scored in double figures in all but one of eight career March Madness games. Another senior, Mike Tobey, has emerged in this year’s Big Dance with 36 points on 17-of-23 shooting in 44 minutes off the bench. Brogdon had 21 points and London Perrantes finished with 16 points, seven assists and four steals as Virginia won the only regular-season meeting 73-65 at home.
I can not see Syracuse winning this game. Gonzaga should have put them away late in that game and they choked. The Orange’s Cinderella run comes to and end today and I don’t think its close.
Pick: Virginia -8