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NCAA Tournament 2021 – #11 Syracuse Orange (18-9) vs #2 Houston Cougars (26-3)

Can Orange Compete Against Cougars?

Our Syracuse vs Houston pick has the Cougars as the favorite. The best point spread for Houston is -6.5 (-110). As far as the underdog Orange are concerned, you’ll find them at +6.5 (-110). Syracuse comes to this 2021 NCAAM Tournament Sweet 16 Midwest Region contest by beating the #6 San Diego State Aztecs 78-62 in Round One and then by taking down the #3 West Virginia Mountaineers 75-72. In Round One of March Madness, the Houston Cougars easily took out the #15 Cleveland State Vikings 87-56. In Round Two, the Cougars snuck by the #10 Rutgers Scarlet Knights, 63-60.

The Orange and Cougars will meet on Saturday, March 27 at 9:55 pm ET. The game will be held at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN. Also, see our other Midwest Region Sweet 16 pick for Saturday, as the #12 Oregon State Beavers take on the #8 Loyola Chicago Ramblers at 2:40 pm ET. That game will be played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN.

Syracuse vs Houston Pick – Stats

The two major statistical differences between these two teams favor the Cougars. Houston is allowing opponents 58.0 PPG, while the Orange are giving up 67.0. Additionally, Houston is better on rebounds, 40.9 to 35.5. Those are two major differences. Additionally, Houston is also a bit better in points per game, 77.4 to 75.9 and three-point percentage, 36.1 to 33.9. On the other hand, Syracuse is a tad better when it comes to assists (15.3 to 13.9), steals (8.3 to 8.2), and blocks (5.1 to 4.7). The Orange are good on frees 78.4 percent of the time, while the Cougars are connecting on 74.1 percent of their attempts.

Key Players

The Syracuse Orange relies on guard Buddy Boeheim to score points. Boeheim is averaging a hefty 18.0 PPG. He’s also recording 2.6 APG and 1.3 SPG while connecting on 39.6% of his threes. Also, in the backcourt, Joseph Girard III is averaging 3.6 APG, 9.7 PPG, and 3.0 RPG. The Syracuse frontcourt is comprised of a solid trio of double-digit scorers, Quincy Guerrier, Alan Griffin, and Marek Dolezaj. Guerrier, who’s averaging 13.9 PPG and 8.5 RPG, has double-double potential. He’s a 50% shooter. Griffin is recording 13.7 PPG and 6.0 RPG, while Dolezaj is good for 10.0 PPG, 5.3 RPG and 3.3 APG. He’s completing 55.8% of his field goals.

The Cougars bring three guards to this game who are double-digit scorers. Quentin Grimes is putting in 18.1 PPG while taking down 6.0 RPG. He’s completing 41.7% of his three-point attempts. Also, in the backcourt, Marcus Sasser is averaging 13.3 PPG and DeJon Jarreau 10.9 PPG. Jarreau, the backcourt general, tops the team with 4.1 APG. In the paint, Justin Gorham is averaging 8.5 PPG and 8.6 RPG.

Syracuse vs Houston Pick – Final Thoughts

Our Syracuse vs Houston pick likes the Orange in this one. That’s despite the fact that the Cougars are better on defense and rebounding. The Orange are solid in the paint and in the backcourt, Boeheim can real off points. For Houston to have a chance, they will have to be on target from the backcourt. We find that Syracuse will dominate the boards, making the most of their opportunities. We’re taking the Syracuse Orange at +6.5 (-110).

#11 Syracuse Orange vs #2 Houston Cougars

Syracuse Orange at +6.5 (-110)


Paul has been writing about sports betting and sports for more than a decade, offering picks on the NFL, MLB, NHL, and NBA, as well as on college sports and European football. He's written thousands of season and post-season previews, innumerable articles on sports betting strategies, and various books on sports and sports betting.

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