For the final time in the conference’s current form, the college basketball betting lines will be contested at Madison Square Garden in the Big East Tournament Final. The 2013 finale pits the Syracuse Orange up against the Louisville Cardinals.
The Orange are an outfit that really is mystifying right now. They came into the Big East Tournament in terrible form, and they really haven’t gotten anything stellar out of F CJ Fair since getting here to the Big Apple. Beating the Seton Hall Pirates was no shock, but to come back in back to back days and beat the Pitt Panthers and the Georgetown Hoyas in overtime is remotely
remarkable. It really is the defense that is going to make or break this team this year. This unit came up huge against the Hoyas in the dying seconds of overtime, forcing several miscues by a normally very efficient Georgetown outfit. The Orange’s patented 2-3 zone ranks 31st in the land in total defense at 59.6 points per game allowed, a remarkable number considering how tough the Big East is to play in. Still, there are some major offensive problems as well, and that was demonstrated by the fact that no one could really step up and make the big time shot against the Hoyas either.
Louisville really has played the role of the most stellar team in the Big East all season long, and it just hasn’t batted an eyelash at all here at MSG. The Cards have their sights set on a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and win would virtually certainly wrap that up. They are one of the four teams that we see fighting for two No. 1 seeds, and there isn’t a team that has the ability to pick up as big of a win as this one the rest of the way. The win at the Carrier Dome against this Syracuse team really seemed to change the whole course of action for the rest of the year for Louisville. The team has rolled off nine straight wins, but since that win in Syracuse, the ‘Ville has won all four of its games by at least 12 points, and it has been tremendously methodical on both sides of the court. The defense hasn’t allowed more than 57 in a game in this stretch, and against some very good defensive teams, the offense hasn’t put up fewer than 67.
Still, there’s something about Head Coach Jim Boeheim that makes this season seem really, really special. Is he set to retire? It surely could be that way. The Orange probably aren’t going to cut down the nets at the Final Four this year, but they could do it here at MSG, and to a certain extent, that would be a tremendous validation of his whole career. We’re not quite sure how they are going to do it, but we think that Syracuse will find a way to win the Big East. Syracuse 68 – Louisville 65
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.