2013 NCAA Picks - East. Marquette vs Syracuse

Posted Mar 31, 2013

Predicting and projecting every NCAA Tournament game - East Region

2013 NCAA Basketball Tourney

East - Regional Final

2013 NCAA Basketball Tournament Team Breakdowns
 - 2013 Hoops & Helmets | 2013 Oooooops & Helmets

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How are our picks so far? Straight Up: 12-3  ATS: 7-7-1

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Yeah, yeah, yeah, we know, we're CollegeFOOTBALLNews.com, but like the rest of the world, we take a wee bit of a break for NCAA college basketball tournament.  SCROLL DOWN for the earlier round picks and quick looks.

No. 3 Marquette (26-8) vs. No. 4 Syracuse (29-9)
Line: Syracuse -4.5
Why To Pick Marquette: How do you solve the Syracuse zone defense? You play against it and get experience. The two teams only played once this year in the Big East, and the Golden Eagles managed to to get by at home 74-71 by hitting the boards hard and doing a nice job in the interior. The three point shooting wasn't on, but the offense found ways to to score inside thanks to a huge day from Devante Gardner's 26 points. Against Miami, Gardner did his job while Chris Otule should be able to add even more power on the inside.
Why To Pick Syracuse: The Orange lost by three to Marquette on the road - the game was dead even and could've easily have gone the other way had it been played in the Carrier Dome. Marquette might be great on the inside, but Syracuse was able to destroy Indiana by shoving Cody Zeller and company around. This is an athletic team that's playing with tremendous confidence and killing teams with its defense. The Golden Eagles might have seen the zone before, but it's playing at another level now - the intensity has been ramped up.
The Pick: Syracuse 76-70. The Golden Eagles showed against Miami that handling teams with athleticism isn't a problem, but the Orange will do more in the interior while clamping down on the perimeter.
FINAL SCORE: Syracuse 55-39

No. 1 Indiana (29-6) vs. No. 4 Syracuse (28-9)
Line: Indiana -5.5
Why To Pick Indiana: The defense should be able to keep teams from making the extra pass and can play just as tough defense when absolutely needed as Syracuse can. The Hoosiers did a great job of keeping the ball movement to a minimum against Temple and did a decent job of forcing turnovers. The Orange were a bit too sloppy with the ball against Cal and will give up cheap points. Indiana kills teams that makes mistakes.
Why To Pick Syracuse: Athleticism and rebounding. Syracuse can hit the boards better than Indiana for stretches and have no problems whatsoever getting on the move - they'll be able to run as long as the Hoosiers want to. Cody Zeller has been mediocre so far despite the overall numbers, and the Orange interior should be able to shut him down with waves. The perimeter defense should be fantastic once again - Cal hit just 4-of-19 from the field.
The Pick: Indiana 71-64. The Hoosiers are capable of going flat for stretches, and they escaped Temple by the skin of their teeth, but Syracuse doesn't have Khalif Wyatt.
FINAL SCORE: Syracuse 61-50

No. 2 Miami (29-6) vs. No. 3 Marquette (25-8)
Line: Miami -5.5
Why To Pick Miami: Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. Marquette isn't quite active enough on the boards and they aren't quite getting enough scoring from the outside when Vander Blue isn't on.  Miami is more athletic, more active, and more dangerous on the move with the ability to screw up the Golden Eagle backcourt and convert off the mistakes. The Hurricanes were great at keeping the Illinois perimeter shooting to a minimum.
Why To Pick Marquette: Can the Golden Eagles get a slew of second chance points? Illinois owned the offensive glass and stayed alive on want-to. Marquette didn't exactly shove around Butler, but it was able to come up with just enough timely plays, especially without the injured Reggie Johnson on the inside. Johnson might not have scored against Illinois, but he was a key factor with three offensive rebounds.
The Pick: Marquette 65-62. The Hurricanes could run the Golden Eagles out of the gym, but the pace will be kept to a crawl coming down to free throws late.
FINAL SCORE: Marquette 71-61


No. 1 Indiana (28-6) vs. No. 9 Temple (24-9)
Line: Indiana -11.5
Why To Pick Indiana: The Hoosiers will destroy the Owls on the boards and will rip them up in the interior. NC State won the rebounding and interior battle by a huge margin, and Indiana should be able to do whatever it wants inside. Not helping Temple's cause if Khalif Wyatt's thumb injury after hanging 31 on NC State. 
Why To Pick Temple: Wyatt's thumb is fine. The Owls manage to play nasty defense on the perimeter and have firepower at several spots to keep up the pace with the athletic Hoosiers. NC State was able to dominate on the boards and shot the ball well, but it didn't matter. As long as the Owls are getting to the basket and can win the free throw battle, this might be close.
The Pick: Indiana 74-64. Temple will be peskier than the Hoosiers might like. However, unlike the NC State game, the advantage inside and on the boards will matter.
FINAL SCORE: Indiana 58-52
No. 4 Syracuse (27-9) vs. No. 12 California (21-11)
Line: Syracuse -7.5
Why To Pick Syracuse: So much for the idea that Montana was going to come in an shock a flaky Syracuse team. The Orange cranked up the defense several notches in its 81-34 blasting by getting all over the floor, getting to the rim and owning the boards. Cal was able to slip by UNLV on just enough three point shooting, and a hot day from Robert Thurman. The Orange D is on.
Why To Pick California: This is Syracuse. One game is looks like a national champion, the next it can't seem to get out of its own way. The Golden Bears were aggressive defensively, too, it their win over the Runnin' Rebels doing a great job at forcing turnovers. The Cal guards aren't going to keep giving it away like the Montana backcourt did.
The Pick: Syracuse 77-67. The Orange look locked in. Cal got its solid first round upset, but even at home it won't be able to get by against the SU athleticism.
FINAL SCORE: Syracuse 66-60

No. 3 Marquette (24-8) vs. No. 6 Butler (27-8)
Line: Marquette -2
Why To Pick Marquette: After getting through by the skin of their teeth, the Warriors are matching up with a team that should be a good fit. The Golden Eagles are great at getting on the boards and did a nice job against Davidson of forcing turnovers. They're not going to go 4-of-15 from three again, and if they do, they'll control the rebounds.
Why To Pick Butler: Marquette did an awful job of coming up with the extra pass against Davidson. The ball movement wasn't there, and that's the one thing Bucknell was able to do in its loss to the Bulldogs. Like Marquette, Butler was stone cold for long stretches from three, and while the defensive pressure will be turned up, that won't happen again.
The Pick: Marquette 67-63. As long as the Golden Eagles can contain Andrew Smith on the boards, which they should be able to do, they'll be able to slip on by.
FINAL SCORE: Marquette 74-72

No. 2 Miami (28-6) vs. No. 7 Illinois (23-12)
Line: Miami -7
Why To Pick Miami: The Canes might not be known for being all that physical, but they should be able to attack the glass and win the battle up front like Colorado did. Illinois had a problem with turnovers and should have a nightmare of a time against the aggressive Miami backcourt and should come up with more than its share of second chance points.
Why To Pick Illinois: The Illini has the athleticism to get up and down the floor, or it can bog down and grind if needed. The defense did a fantastic job against Colorado on the perimeter, and despite getting outrebounded, managed to do a decent job in the interior. The Illini didn't come up with their sharpest performance, and they still ended up winning by eight.
The Pick: Miami 69-60. Illinois will put up an excellent fight, but will go dead-cold during a key second half stretch to finally allow the Canes to break away.
FINAL SCORE: Miami 63-59


No. 1 Indiana (27-6) vs. No. 16 James Madison (21-14)
Line: Indiana -21
Why To Pick Indiana: James Madison doesn't have a prayer on the glass. It doesn't have the size or athleticism to handle what Indiana is going to bring on the boards with chance after chance on misses. Cody Zeller should be able to own the interior while the overall athleticism should be overwhelming.
Why To Pick James Madison: There's just enough balance to throw several options at the Hoosiers. While the Dukes can't match up athletically, they can score from several spots on the floor and can keep up the pace if this gets turns into a bit of a track meet.
The Pick: Indiana 81-57. The Hoosiers are going to flex a little bit of muscle with a dominant performance to make a statement early on. They'll click right away.
FINAL SCORE: Indiana 83-62

No. 8 NC State (24-10) vs. No. 9 Temple (23-9)
Line: NC State -4
Why To Pick North Carolina State: The speed and style of play could overwhelm the stodgy Owls. Temple is about not screwing up, making the right pass and being effective offensively, but the defense isn't good enough to hold up if the Wolfpack offense is clicking.
Why To Pick Temple: NC State doesn't play defense. It might be a case of slow and steady winning the race if Temple can just keep its composure and keep on fighting. NC State can beat itself.
The Pick: NC State 75-67. The Wolfpack will play the game its way and get the offense moving early. Temple won't be able to go on the run needed to change up the tempo.
FINAL SCORE: Temple 76-72

No. 5 UNLV (23-9) vs. No. 12 California (20-11)
Line: UNLV -3
Why To Pick UNLV: This is a quick and feisty team that could be built to throw a big scare into several teams – if you believe in the old adage that guard play means everything in the tournament. This is a fun team with the type of offense that can run Cal out of the gym.
Why To Pick California: The Bears don't let much of anything get inside, forcing UNLV to bomb away from the three. The Rebels can get a bit too careless at times leading to the transition points the Cal offense needs. It might not always be pretty, but the team is finding ways to get the job done.
The Pick: California 68-67. Underseeded, Cal suffered because the committee couldn't find places for the Pac-12's top teams. Being at home in San Jose makes up for the No. 12 spot.
FINAL SCORE: California 64-61

No. 4 Syracuse (26-9) vs. No. 13 Montana (25-6)
Line: Syracuse -12.5
Why To Pick Syracuse: The size, length and quickness of the nasty Orange defense could be too much for the Montana outside game. This isn't a Grizzly team that hit the boards hard, and the defense isn't exactly stellar. If Syracuse relaxes and doesn't try to force anything, it can win this on talent.
Why To Pick Montana: Syracuse seems ripe to get tagged. This is a million dollar team with ten-cent chemistry, unable to find the right cohesiveness and the right ability to make the right decisions. There can't be any careless mistakes and the offense has to take advantage of every open shot.
The Pick: Syracuse 67-64. Montana has the heart and the toughness that Syracuse has lacked over the last several weeks, but it won't be enough. Syracuse will sweat out a nasty one.
FINAL SCORE: Syracuse 81-34

No. 6 Butler (26-8) vs. No. 11 Bucknell (28-5)
Line: Butler -3.5
Why To Pick Butler: This is a cohesive and mentally tough team that does all the little things right. It hits the boards well and should be able to show a bit more scoring punch both inside and out. Basically, Bucknell and Butler are almost the same, but Butler plays its game better.
Why To Pick Bucknell: Experience. This is a team full of upperclassmen that doesn't get intimidated and doesn't get rattled. Butler hasn't exactly been consistent throughout the year in all phases and can go stone cold offensively at times. If the Bison can stay within range and not get into any sort of a shootout, they'll have a shot.
The Pick: Butler 68-61. Bucknell has the type of team perfect to come up with the upset over a team like Butler, but the offensive scoring punch won't be there to get it done.
FINAL SCORE: Butler 68-56

No. 3 Marquette (23-8) vs. No. 14 Davidson (26-7)
Line: Marquette -3
Why To Pick Marquette: To beat the Golden Eagles a team has to come up with some major scoring pop, and Davidson isn't that team. While it shoots well from the field, it has to work a bit too hard to go on runs; Marquette doesn't let teams go on runs. This is a rock-solid tough team that doesn't beat itself, and the Wildcats don't force mistakes.
Why To Pick Davidson: Marquette isn't going to blow up and run the Wildcats out of the gym. The game will be all about defense, the extra pass and not screwing up, and while that should be enough to avoid the upset, Davidson wants the game to grind out, too.
The Pick: Marquette 70-61. The Golden Eagles won't beat themselves, and Davidson won't do enough offensively to come up with the run needed. It'll be a grinding game with Marquette in control throughout.
FINAL SCORE: Marquette 59-58

No. 7 Illinois (22-12) vs. No. 10 Colorado (21-11)
Line: Illinois -1.5
Why To Pick Illinois: If Illinois can go on any sort of a run, Colorado will be in big trouble. The Buff offense isn't bad, but points are generated from the defense and coming up with big plays on the boards. If Illinois gets streaky-hot like its' been able to do from time to time, this could be over fast.
Why To Pick Colorado: The Illini can rise up and beat anyone in the tournament, but they don't seem able to come up with the game performance from one game to the next. If the Buffs can limit the turnovers and own the boards, they can keep this close late. Illinois has the ability to go ice cold a bit too often.
The Pick: Colorado 68-64. Flip a coin on which Illinois team will come out. Colorado will be too good on the boards and too steady throughout on the way to an interesting upset.
FINAL SCORE: Illinois 57-49

No. 2 Miami (27-6) vs. No. 15 Pacific (22-12)
Line: Miami -12.5
Why To Pick Miami: Pacific's defense is very, very iffy. The Tigers would prefer to get into a scoring race, but that won't work against a Hurricane team that's far too athletic and far too quick. There's no Pacific inside presence and no rebounding; Miami will own the glass.
Why To Pick Pacific: Miami doesn't make the extra pass. The Canes like to get on the move and make things happen individually. If the Tigers can slow the game down and hit their outside shots, and if they can control the ball as much as possible, Miami could be kept in check.
The Pick: Miami 81-64. Pacific won't have the scoring punch to make this a game in the second half. Miami will pull away with ease in the final five minutes.
FINAL SCORE: Miami 78-49
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