Syracuse Orange vs. Villanova Wildcats Preview & Free Pick

College basketball betting action isn't going to get much hotter than it will be on Saturday night at the Carrier Dome! The Syracuse Orange will collide with the Villanova Wildcats in a high-octane Big East bash. Here's at Cappers Info, we've got all of the information that you need to know about the game!

What's At Stake: The Orange can wrap up the regular season Big East title with a win. Villanova knows that it controls its own destiny for the same fate. The winner of this game will also most likely have an inside track towards a #1 seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. This is also one of the very few clashes of the season between two teams that are in the Top-10 at the same time.

College Basketball Odds: Syracuse -5.5 at Diamond Sportsbook

Syracuse Notes: HC Jim Boeheim has accounted for 825 wins in his illustrious coaching career, but it's arguable that this would be one of the more important regular season victories. The Orange love to fly up and down the court, as they have the #7 ranked scoring offense in college basketball at 81.2 points per game. The team has the #1 ranked team in the land in terms of shooting efficiency at 52.2%. That's quite the contrast from the 39.0% from the floor that the opposition is shooting against Syracuse's patented 2-3 zone. The Orange are a stellar 15-2 SU and 7-6 ATS at home this season, but both SU losses came in conference play. They're coming off of back-to-back road wins and covers against Providence and Georgetown after the stunning 66-60 loss at home to Louisville on February 14th.

Villanova Notes: What once looked like a sure-fire #1 seed in either the East or South Brackets has turned into a bit of a disaster for Villanova. Loss against Pittsburgh, Connecticut, and Georgetown in recent weeks have liked chased the Cats down to the #2 line if the tourney was to start today. They looked determined to exact some payback for those recent losses on Wednesday night though, picking up a dominant 74-49 win at home against South Florida. The win snapped a three-game losing streak against the NCAA basketball odds. Villanova is the only team in the Big East that has a more prolific offense that Syracuse does. The Cats are averaging 83.8 points per game, #2 in the country. The defense has come into question a number of times for its 72.0 points per game allowed clip, but a game like the one it had on Wednesday against USF quiets its critics.

Players to Watch

Scottie Reynolds, Villanova: The Wildcats' leading scorer is one of the best guards in the entire nation. He is averaging 19.0 points per game and is coming off of a big 21 point performance against the Bulls. Reynolds has scored at least 18 points in six straight NCAA basketball betting battles.

Wesley Johnson, Syracuse: Not only is Johnson leading Boeheim's bunch in scoring at 15.8 points per game, but he's proving to be the complete package as well. He is a durable player that is averaging over 34 minutes per game. Johnson's shooting percentages are both fantastic (50.2% from the field, 39.4% from downtown), and he is also the team's leading rebounder at 8.7 boards per clash.

Trends of Note

-Villanova is 4-1 ATS in its L/5 games as an underdog of less than seven points
-Villanova is just 2-5 ATS in its L/7 Big East games
-Villanova is a stellar 5-2 ATS in its L/7 road games vs. teams with a winning home record
-Syracuse is 21-8 ATS in its L/29 games against teams with a winning record
-Syracuse is 26-9 ATS in its L/35 games overall and 23-8 ATS in its L/31 games as a favorite
-Syracuse is 10-1 ATS in its L/11 games as a favorite of less than seven points
-The underdog is 5-1 ATS in the L/6 meetings between these Big East rivals

Final Analysis: This game is just going to be too close to call. It isn't the end of the world to either team if it should lose, but the winning team will be full of confidence going into both the NCAA Tournament and the Big East Tournament. When Syracuse gets a chance to set its 2-3 zone, it is a very hard team to score on. However, Villanova is a team that loves to push the tempo of the game and force your defense to play on its heels instead of in a set play. Look for the Wildcats to come out and play inspired basketball for the full 40 minutes, and though it may not ultimately yield an SU victory, sticking within those 5.5 points is the way to go against this college basketball spread.

Selection: Villanova Wildcats +5.5

Lou Palumbo is the founder and part owner of the Cappersinfo.com Sports Handicapping Community. He's been writing and posting free picks and sports handicapping strategies on the Cappersinfo forums and website for 15 years now. He enjoys handicapping just as much as he did from the very first day he built the original Cappersinfo website.

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