Wisconsin vs Syracuse Picks, Spread, and Review

Wisconsin (26-9 SU/18-14 ATS) got past Vanderbilt last Saturday in a 60-57 thriller as -1 point favorites. Senior Jordan Taylor hit a three-pointer from well beyond the arc in the closing moments, lifting Wisconsin over Vanderbilt in the third round of the NCAA Tournament. The Commodores had one final chance to tie it with 1.3 seconds remaining, but Jared Berggren deflected Lance Gouldbourne’s inbounds pass. Jordan Taylor led the Badgers with 14 points, but was just 5-of-15 from the floor and 3-of-10 from three-point range for fourth-seeded Wisconsin, which advanced to consecutive Sweet 16′s for the first time in school history. Ryan Evans and Ben Brust both added 11 points for the Badgers, who will face top-seeded Syracuse in the East Region semifinals in Boston. The Badgers registered 19 points off 12 Vanderbilt turnovers and connected on 10-of-33 from beyond the arc. This will be the Badgers’ fifth trip to the round of 16 during head coach Bo Ryan’s tenure. Wisconsin made its 10th appearance in the Round of 32 since 2002, the most of any team in the nation over that stretch. The Badgers, who improved to 25-16 all-time in the tourney and 16-10 under Ryan, defeated Kansas State in the third round of last year’s tourney.

Syracuse (33-2 SU/18-16 ATS) is coming off a 75-59 win over Kansas State as 5½ point favorites. After a narrow escape against UNC-Asheville in the opening round, the Orange more resembled the team that held the top ranking for six weeks during the regular season. Dion Waiters scored 18 points and Scoop Jardine added 16 with eight assists, as Syracuse pulled away in the second half to advance to the East Region semifinals. James Southerland chipped in 15 points and six rebounds off the bench, while Rakeem Christmas had perhaps his best game of his freshman season in the absence of the ineligible Fab Melo. Christmas scored eight points and grabbed a team-best 11 rebounds for the top-seeded Orange, who were coming off the 72-65 win over 16th-seeded UNC-Asheville on Thursday. Syracuse reached the regional semifinals for the third time in the last four years. Syracuse finished 23-of-29 from the stripe and also made 6-of-9 three-point tries, including all five attempts from beyond the arc in the second half. The Orange shot 51.1 percent overall and gave Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim his 47th career NCAA Tournament win, tying the legendary John Wooden for fifth on the all-time list. Syracuse hasn’t been past the Sweet 16 since winning the 2003 title.

Wisconsin is 16-5 ATS in non-conference games, 5-1 ATS in neutral site games and 4-1 ATS in NCAA games; and the Badgers lead the nation in scoring defense with 52.9 ppg allowed. Syracuse counters with an 11-5 ATS mark against non-conference teams, but the Orange have been shaky against the number lately, going 2-7 ATS. Syracuse has been mired in mediocrity as far as the spread goes when they are favored, going 17-17 ATS; and they’re 10-10 ATS when playing on a neutral court.

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