Syracuse finished the regular season 19-12 which earned them an 11 seed up against the #14 seed Wake Forest Demon Deacons on Tuesday. The Orange are one of the last four teams in / out for the NCAA tournament according to most experts but a couple wins in the ACC tournament would let them rest a bit easier come selection Sunday. Wake Forest (11-19) would love nothing more than to burst Syracuse’s tournament bubble in the 3/6 ACC tournament free pick. The Demon Deacons have one win over the Orange this season and very much could have had the season sweep if Syracuse didn’t go to the FT line 39 times in the second contest.
Syracuse judgement day number 1. Beat Wake Forest or suffer the fate of the NIT.
— TellMeWhatYouWantMeToTweet (@DrunkCuseFan) March 6, 2018
Wake Has the Talent to Get the Win – But Have Also Struggled Down the Stretch
Since beating Syracuse 73-67 on January 3rd, the Demon Deacons have dropped 13 of their last 16 games. It’s possible that Wake Forest’s lineup that can include four 3-point shooters is just a tough matchup against Syracuse’s zone defense though. In that first meeting for example, Wake shot nearly 50% from beyond the arc to power the six point victory. The Orange did notch a 78-70 home win in the rematch, but Wake still shot a respectable 43.5% from three point range in that game.
In the 3/6 ACC tournament free pick Wake Forest will turn to Bryant Crawford, who scored in double figures in 28 of 29 games this season. Crawford averaged 21.5 points in the two games against the Orange this year and hit 8 of 18 of his three pointers in the series. The Demon Deacons also have Mitchell Wilbekin who has hit 7 of 9 three point attempts against Syracuse this year and is the 5th most efficient 3-point shooter in the conference. With all the focus on the outside game, it could be Wake Forest’s 7’1″ C Doral Moore that is the deciding factor today. Moore put up especially good numbers in the most recent loss to Syracuse when he shot 7-9 from the field while grabbing 16 rebounds.
Syracuse Looks for Their First ACC Tournament Win Ever
While they were consistently beasts of the (Big) East, ‘Cuse has never won an ACC tournament game since joining the conference in 2014. This year’s version of the tournament is being held in Brooklyn, which is a huge advantage for Syracuse and their fans as the Barclays Center is just a four hour drive from campus. The winner of the 3/6 ACC tournament free pick plays North Carolina on Wednesday night. A win would be huge for the Orange tournament resume but they have to be careful not to overlook Wake Forest in the opening round first.
The Orange are at the very least consistent as they feature four players who have started all 31 games.
The backcourt of Tyus Battle and Frank Howard lead the way with and both have had success against Wake Forest on the year. It was Battle’s 34 points that fueled the win over Wake Forest at the Carrier Dome while Howard put up 23 in the previous loss to the Demon Deacons. The dribble penetration of the guards has been a problem for Wake as Syracuse has gone to the line 62 times in the two games.
3/6 ACC Tournament Free Pick Betting
There’s heavy action on Syracuse in this contest with nearly 80% of the public backing the Orange. The line has moved as a reflection to the SYR -3 open to the SYR -4.5 where the spread stands now. Syracuse will definitely have a ‘home court’ advantage on this neutral site. Both teams struggle on true neutral site contests with a combined 2-9 ATS record. The Demon Deacons are just 2-5 ATS the last 7 meetings with the Orange but their lineup has shown to cause the Orange some problems. Facing the 2-3 zone of the Orange for a third time on the year is a definite advantage for Wake Forest as well. Syracuse is 0-fer in their ACC tournament life and the Demon Deacons have a great shot at continuing that trend tonight.
Free Pick: Wake Forest Demon Deacons +4.5