2012 Sweet 16 Odds: Wisconsin vs Syracuse with no Fab Melo
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
by Bovada Sportsbook
The East Region’s top-seeded Syracuse Orange were able to reach the Sweet 16 despite the loss of starting center and Big East Defensive Player of the Year Fab Melo on the eve of the NCAA Tournament, but his absence could really be felt on Thursday night against No. 4 Wisconsin Badgers in Boston for a trip to the Elite Eight. The Orange are 3.5-point favorites on Bovada’s NCAA basketball Sweet 16 odds with live betting available.
Wisconsin (26-9) is the nation’s top defensive team, allowing just under 53 points per game. That defense was definitely on display in UW’s Round of 32 60-57 win over No. 5 Vanderbilt as the Badgers held the SEC’s top two scorers, John Jenkins (20.1) and Jeffery Taylor (16.3), to 13 and 9 points, respectively. UW has reached back-to-back Sweet 16s for the first time in school history.
Syracuse, meanwhile, almost became the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed, squeaking by UNC-Asheville in the Round of 64 as Melo was clearly missed. But on Saturday the Orange looked better in a 75-59 win over Kansas State. Freshman big man Rakeem Christmas stepped up as the replacement for Melo and had 11 rebounds, eight points, three blocks and a steal. And the Syracuse bench outscored KSU’s bench 33-0. In fact, SU reserves have outscored the opposition 61-16 so far in this tournament. Reserve junior forward James Southerland has scored 15 points in each of the last two games, making 11 of 14 shots from the field.
The Orange are looking to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time since their national championship run in 2003. The Badgers haven't been to the next round since 2005. This should be a classic matchup as Syracuse lives for creating turnovers, while Wisconsin is one of the nation’s top teams at not giving the ball away and has one of the country’s top point guards in Jordan Taylor. The winner faces the Cincinnati-Ohio State winner on Saturday.
The Orange and Badgers haven’t played since 1999. Wisconsin is 5-1 ATS in its past six neutral site games. Syracuse is 1-4 ATS in its past five at neutral sites.
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