Michigan Seeks to Solve the Syracuse Zone at the Final Four

Those BetAnySports customers who are involved with Final Four betting have been duly impressed by the 2-3 zone that is employed by the Syracuse Orange. But the Michigan Wolverines think they may have something to counteract that defense, with speed and perimeter players. These teams will face each other with a chance to get to the national title game on Saturday at 9 PM ET at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

Here is the setup:

NCAA Semi-Final
Michigan Wolverines (30-7 SU, 19-16 ATS) vs. Syracuse Orange (30-9 SU, 20-15 ATS)
Saturday, April 6 – 9 PM ET
Georgia Dome – Atlanta, GA

Both of these teams were utterly dominant on advancing to the Final Four. Michigan defeated a bewildered Florida team by twenty points, while Syracuse held Marquette to just 39 points in the Elite Eight.

In the March Madness betting odds that have been posted at BetAnySports on this game, Michigan is the slight favorite:


Michigan Seeks to Solve the Syracuse Zone at the Final Four
Michigan Wolverines  -2
Syracuse Orange +2

Over 131 Points -110
Under 131 Points  -110

Michigan wins game  -140
Syracuse wins game +120

On the technical side, Michigan has gone 8-1 ATS on neutral courts this season, and they have covered all four of their games in the NCAA Tournament. Syracuse has covered five of its last seven games, and has suffered only one loss – to Louisville – in its last eight contests.

Michigan (priced at +325 to go all the way at BetAnySports) has had high drama already, getting a three-pointer at the buzzer to send their game with Kansas into overtime, which led to the eventual win over a #1 seed. But there were also overwhelming efforts that came as something of a surprise; the Wolverines completely decimated VCU with a 25-point win, and also never let Florida get untracked in the Elite Eight, holding the Gators to 41% shooting (and 20% treys).

Syracuse has not always shot well; in fact, this team has hit only 39%, 44% and 38% in the last three games. But that hasn’t mattered because they have smothered foes on the defensive end. In Syracuse’s last 14 games, only one team has reached 43% shooting. And in the tournament the Orange have been devastating, holding foes to 29% overall, with everyone hitting 20% or less from the three-point arc. Marquette was absolutely flummoxed last weekend, making just three out of 25 from beyond the arc and less than a third of their shots from TWO-point range. The opponents of Jim Boeheim’s team have converted on just 14 of their 92 three-point shots. That’s amazing.

In terms of the actual matchup, Michigan does have qualities that may afford it a chance here. For one thing, they are a team that can get down the floor in a hurry, and perhaps get off a good shot before Syracuse (+400 to win the title at BetAnySports) has a chance to set up on defense. But if the Wolverines are not able to do that on a consistent basis, they are most likely going to have to hit a lot of three-pointers, and that could be problematic against Syracuse, because the Orange have so much in the way of “length” to hassle smaller guards. However, if they get hot, it could work for them.

And if anyone could penetrate Syracuse’s guard to make that kind of thing happen, it’s Trey Burke, who was recently named the Associated Press player of the year and has 31 assists in the Big Dance. Again, a key could be the center position, where Mitch McGary has proven himself to be more than serviceable, averaging 17.5 points and 11.5 rebounds in this tourney, shooting 73%. Can he get into the lane for some short-range shots? That might be a very critical factor if his team is to win and advance.

Get moving with the rest of March Madness at BetAnySports!

Charles Jay

CHARLES JAY, a contributor to BangTheBook.com, is one of the most experienced sports betting writers in America, as he has written more than 10,000 pieces specifically for the industry over the last seven years. At one time employed as an editorial consultant with USA Network, he is also a former syndicated radio talk show host (American Radio Networks) and has also done color commentary on boxing events in the past for Prime Network (now known as Fox SportsNet). He is a veteran of more than a decade and a half working within the professional sports industry, and has been handicapping sporting events for over 25 years. In addition to this, he has compiled specialty odds for a number of online sportsbook operations and media outlets.