NCAA Basketball Betting:  Syracuse vs. Dayton&h=253&w=372&zc=1

Syracuse University might not be Duke, but they’d have to put up a record under .500 AND have coach Jim Boeheim ‘kill a man just to watch him die’ to not get a NCAA tournament invite. In fact, that might not keep them out. And while this isn’t one of the better Syracuse Orange teams of recent vintage this matchup itself might be a gift from the selection committee. Syracuse might be a 10 seed but this is one of the better tactical matchups for the Boeheimers.

What does Syracuse always bring? You got it–defense and rebounding. And while there aren’t any Derrick Coleman types on this team–it might be the weakest rebounding Boeheim team I’ve seen in years–this matchup against a Flyers’ team without a whole lot of size effectively negates the biggest Syracuse liability. Their defensive rebounding numbers are downright ugly but it’s doubtful that Dayton can expose this weakness.

Syracuse isn’t used to having to rely on one guy for clutch time scoring but that’s the case this year. They live and die with Michael Gbinije in crunch time and while he is an 18 ppg scorer that type of one diminsional offense can be fatal. Once again, however, we don’t really see this Dayton team being able to exploit this.

Most significantly–one more question for you sharper types: what can a team do to most effectively break Syracuse’s vaunted matchup zone? In a good year, this defense is downright nasty and while they’re down a bit from usual it’s questionable that Dayton has the ??? to beat it….if you answered ‘3 point shooting’ go to the head of the class of your choice. If you can’t hit the three even a mediocre zone can give a team fits and tactically there’s nothing mediocre about the ‘cuse zone even if the athletes implementing it might not be the highest level ever seen at the school.

How often do you see a ‘revenge game’ in the first round of the NCAA tournament? You’ve got one right here–Dayton eliminated Syracuse in 2014 en route to an Elite Eight appearance. Payback might not be ‘hell’ but all we need is a straight up win by the Orange.