Line: Arizona St. -1.5
Long story short, none of these teams deserve to be in the playoffs. Neither won their conference, nor did any of these teams have spectacular seasons to earn a #11 seed. Syracuse (20-13) have won 5 of their last 10 games and lost in the 2nd round of the ACC tournament to North Carolina. Arizona State (20-11) has won only 4 of their last 10 games and lost in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament to Colorado. The two teams will play TCU in the first round of the tournament on Friday.
Syracuse had the 11th best adjusted defense and 43rd toughest strength of schedule. The Orange play a tough defense and really slow down the game, ranking 342nd in adjusted tempo. Arizona State ranks 17th in adjusted offense and 36th in adjusted tempo. This will be a game of a really good offense vs a really good defense. The pace of the game will determine the winner. Syracuse needs a good defensive game since the team isn’t very good from range and can be beat by a good 3 point shooting team. Arizona State has a deep bench and a good rotation of players that can score points and don’t turn over the ball.
This is going to be a great game going into the first night of the tournament. Arizona has a diverse offense, but Syracuse can lock down any opponent. So the question stands, can Syracuse’s 309th ranked scoring offense keep up with the highest scoring offense in the Pac-12? I don’t think so. Arizona State wins 82-69.