Syracuse at Duke
February 21, 2014
By Brian Edwards
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When Syracuse invades Cameron Indoor Stadium to face Duke on Saturday night, it will be a rematch of one of the best games of the entire season. Jim Boeheim's team got pushed to overtime by the Blue Devils at the Carrier Dome, but it came away with a 91-89 victory on Feb. 1.
Duke took the cash as a 4.5-point underdog in the first meeting between these storied programs as conference rivals. The 180 combined points flew 'over' the 134.5-point total.
Rasheed Sulaimon drained a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to force the extra session and silence a record crowd at the Carrier Dome. Sulaimon finished with a team-high 16 points and also dished out six assists.
C.J. Fair was the catalyst for the winners, scoring a game-high 28 points. Jerami Grant added 24 points and 12 rebounds. Tyler Ennis and Trevor Cooney scored 14 points apiece, with Ennis handing out six assists.
Duke freshman sensation Jabari Parker was limited to 26 minutes of playing time before fouling out. Parker finished with 15 points and nine rebounds.
As of early Friday night, most books had Duke (21-6 straight up, 17-10 against the spread) favored by six for Saturday's showdown.
This is the first trip to Cameron for Hall-of-Fame coach Jim Boeheim. Some of the luster may have been taken off the rematch since both teams are coming off of defeats, but that only ups the stakes for both schools.
Coach K's team will be playing its third game in five days and for the fourth time in the last eight days. The Blue Devils cruised to a 68-51 win Tuesday at Ga. Tech, easily taking the cash as 11-point road 'chalk.' But in Chapel Hill on Thursday night, they came out on the wrong end of a 74-66 decision as two-point road favorites.
Parker had 17 points and 11 rebounds in the losing effort. Quinn Cook and Rodney Hood added 17 and 16 points, respectively.
Duke led by seven at intermission and by 11 with less than 16 minutes left, but it missed 13 straight shots at one point in the second half. The Blue Devils came into the UNC game tied for second in the nation in 3-point percentage (41.7%), but they made only 5-of-22 from deep.
Fatigue could be an issue for Duke. It got beat 43-30 by UNC on the boards and left a lot of shots short in a nine-minute stretch without a made field goal. The Blue Devils were also off on the free-throw line, making just 7-of-12. Cook missed a critical front end of a one-and-one opportunity late in the second half.
Syracuse (25-1 SU, 13-8-1 ATS) is coming off its first loss of the season to Boston College in overtime Wednesday night. The Eagles went into the Carrier Dome and captured a 62-59 win as 13.5-point road underdogs.
The Orange failed to make 3's and couldn't stop BC from doing so. The Eagles banged home 11-of-22 treys, while the 'Cuse was just 2-for-12 from beyond the arc.
Fair finished with 20 points and rebounds. Ennis added 14 points, eight boards and six assists.
Duke is unbeaten in 14 home games with a 9-5 spread record. The Blue Devils have been single-digit home favorites three times, posting a 2-1 ATS mark.
This is just the second underdog situation for Syracuse. It won outright at Pitt by a 58-56 count as a two-point road underdog.
The 'under' is 14-12 overall for Duke, 7-6 in its home games. The 'under' is cashed in three straight for the Blue Devils.
The 'under' is on a 13-3-1 roll for the Orange to improve to 13-6-2 overall. The 'under' has been a winner in five consecutive games for the 'Cuse.
ESPN will have the telecast at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.
**B.E.'s Bonus Nuggets**
-- Florida reserve point guard Kasey Hill (5.6 PPG) will miss his second straight game Saturday at Ole Miss. The freshman McDonald's All-American is dealing with a groin injury.
-- After missing Wednesday's home win over TCU, Shane Southwell (ankle) has been upgraded to 'probable' for Saturday's key Big 12 showdown at Oklahoma. Southwell averages 10.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.
-- Wisconsin's Ben Brust (13.9 PPG, 4.9 RPG) is 'questionable' for Saturday's game at Iowa. Brust didn't practice Thursday after landing hard on his back Wednesday.
-- Akron might be without three key contributors for Saturday's game vs. Ohio. Nick Harney (8.9 PPG, 3.6 RPG) has been suspended indefinitely, while Jake Kretzer (undisclosed) and Reggie McAdams (mono) are listed as 'questionable.' Kretzer averages 7.8 PPG and McAdams is scoring at a 6.3 PPG clip.
-- On Friday afternoon, 5Dimes had Cincinnati listed with 60/1 odds to win the national championship. I think that's a great play, as I'm supremely confident that the Bearcats will be in the Sweet 16. If Sean Kilpatrick shoots well in the NCAA Tournament, Mick Cronin's squad will have an excellent chance to get to Dallas because it defends and rebounds as well as any team in the country. If Cincy gets to the Sweet 16, this future wager will guarantee profit with all the different hedge opportunities that will be available at that point.
-- 5Dimes had Florida as the +550 'chalk' to cut down the nets in Dallas. The next-shortest odds belonged to Kansas (6/1), Syracuse (7/1), Michigan St. (+750), Duke (10/1), Louisville (12/1) and Arizona (12/1).
-- The nation's best ATS teams are Wichita St. and Cleveland State, who are both 18-6-1 versus the number.
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