#11 Syracuse vs #6 San Diego State NCAA Tournament Round 1

#11 Syracuse vs #6 San Diego State NCAA Tournament Round 1 | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Written by on March 17, 2021

No. 11 Syracuse of the ACC barely snuck into the NCAA Tournament and the Orange’s reward is a date with No. 6 San Diego State, the Mountain West champion, on Friday in Round 1. The Aztecs are short favorites on the NCAAB odds.

How to Bet Syracuse vs. San Diego StAte NCAA Basketball Odds & TV Info

Last Meeting

Syracuse is 2-0 all-time against San Diego State. The teams last played on November 11, 2012 aboard the retired aircraft carrier USS Midway. The Orange emerged victorious 62-49.

Why Bet on Syracuse? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Jim Boeheim is coaching in his 35th NCAA Tournament. For the fourth straight appearance SU is a No. 8 seed or worse. If you want to trust SU in a close game, you might have good reason: the team shoots 78.4% from the foul line, the best in school history.

“I’ve seen San Diego State play a couple of times,” Boeheim said. “They’re one of the tougher teams you could draw in the tournament. Some teams are big and don’t shoot very well or don’t defend. They defend at a high level, they shoot it at a high level — they’re one of the better shooting teams we’ve seen this year as a team. … So I don’t think you could get a harder matchup, but we’re happy to be playing.”

The Orange beat a soaring North Carolina squad on March 1, but they also were swept by Pitt this season to show their inconsistency. Buddy Boeheim (16.5 PPG), the coach’s son, is one of four players on the roster averaging double figures.

Guard Kadary Richmond is dealing with tendinitis in his knee heading into the NCAA Tournament. The Orange’s standout freshman has averaged just 15 minutes over the team’s last three games after playing 25-plus in six of the previous seven contests. Boeheim is confident that Richmond will be available for SU’s Round of 64 matchup.

Syracuse is making its 41st NCAA Tournament appearance overall. Syracuse is 64-40 (.615) in NCAA Tournament play and has advanced to six Final Fours (1975, 1987, 1996, 2003, 2013, 2016). The Orange have reached three national championship games (1987, 1996, 2003), winning the title in 2003.

This season marks the second time Syracuse has been seeded 11th. The first time was in 2018 when the Orange were the No. 11 seed in the Midwest Region and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. Syracuse is 3-1 all-time as a No. 11 seed. The 2018 tournament also marks the last time the Orange was placed in the Midwest Region.

Why Bet on San Diego State? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

San Diego State (23-4) was the Mountain West regular-season and tournament champion. With a win over Utah State in Saturday’s Mountain West tournament title matchup, Brian Dutcher’s squad extended its winning streak to 14 games. His team scored 77 points or more in eight of those games. San Diego State also made 40% of its 3-point attempts in league play and was second only to Utah State in defensive efficiency.

A pair of seniors, Matt Mitchell (15.4 PPG) and Jordan Schakel (14.5 PPG), carry the scoring load. Mitchell finished the regular season averaging 15.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.0 assists while shooting 43.7 percent from the floor, 36.1 percent from long range and 81.5 percent from the line.

He became the fifth Aztec in the Mountain West era to earn league Player of the Year distinction, joining Brandon Heath (2006), Jamaal Franklin (2012), Xavier Thames (2014) and Malachi Flynn (2020). Schakel has made 46.6% of his 161 3-point attempts. The team still wins on defense, but it’s got more dynamism on offense than in years past.

San Diego State is 6-12 all time in the NCAA tournament and has never won more than two games in a single tourney. Dutcher hopes to become the second coach in SDSU history to win a tournament game, joining his mentor, Steve Fisher.

Since the formation of the conference in the 1999-2000 season, Mountain West schools are just 22-49 in the NCAA tournament (.310 win pct.) and the conference has never had a team get past the Sweet 16. To put that into perspective, 16 other conferences have had at least one team reach the Elite Eight in that span.

The Aztecs, who will be making their 13th Division I NCAA Tournament appearance, have the second-best record (53-6) in the nation since the start of the 2019-20 season.

Game Trends

  • Orange are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 NCAA Tournament games as an underdog.
  • Orange are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
  • Orange are 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 neutral site games as an underdog.
  • Aztecs are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 NCAA Tournament games.
  • Aztecs are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games following a ATS win.
  • Aztecs are 23-9 ATS in their last 32 Friday games.
  • Aztecs are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 neutral site games as a favorite.

Expert Prediction

  • San Diego State 72, Syracuse 69
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