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SUNDAY PREMIUM SERVICE PLAYS
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20-Dime Syracuse Orangemen - In Big East games this season, Syracuse ranks second in the conference in scoring with 79 points per game. And though Louisville leads the Big East in scoring defense, allowing just 62.4 points per contest, I am not so sure Pitino's boys will be up for this task tonight - especially inside the Carrier Dome.
Nine Big East teams have one loss or no losses at home this season, but only two are perfect on the road. All but four teams have at least two road losses. The Big East road is a monster, and that'll be the difference for us today.
Syracuse has good balance, and I've become fond of watching center Arinze Onuaku, whose 70.2 shooting percentage leads the nation. The Orangemen shoot 50.4 percent as a team, and while Onuaku accuracy is spot-on, Andy Rautins has led Syracuse in scoring five times. He's averaged 13.8 points in the nine games he's started. And though point guard Jonny Flynn is coming off his worst game of the season, shotting a dismal 3-for-14 against Pittsburgh, he's the type of kid who can bounce back quick - and will.
Look for the inside-outside game to be our friend today, look for the offense to prevail in this one and bank on a six- to eight-point win for the Orange.
5-Dime Miami Hurricanes - Letdown scenario here, as the Hokies come in fresh off their win over soon-to-not-be #1 Wake Forest, and stay now face a very tough customer in Miami. Believe me when I tell you the Hurricanes are a very good team that appears to make a run at the NCAA tournament for the second year in a row. The Hurricanes have one of the top players in the ACC in Jack McClinton, and he'll be able to keep his team in this one. Besides, Miami is battle-tested, as it's played some of the toughest teams in the country, sporting four setbacks to some prominent squads: Connecticut, Ohio State, Clemson and North Carolina. They have a lot of veterans on this team, they have an all-upperclassman stating rotation and they have a solid group of role players. Miami is well-balanced and will get this one done for us.
5-Dime Los Angeles Lakers - Another battle between the Western Conference's most dominant teams the past decade, and another win for Kobe and company. This is revenge for the 112-111 road loss that sparked a little mini-slump for the Purple and Gold, who ended up losing to Orlando two days later. San Antonio, which I know has won five of its last six on the road, has lost its last five inside the Staples Center against the Lakers, including the playoffs. LA is on ATS runs of 8-3 versus the Southwest Division and 7-3 when taking on a team with winning record on the floor, while the Spurs are stuck in a number of ATS ruts, including being 2-5 against winning teams, 1-4 off a SU win and 2-5 overall. Take the Lakers today in this matinee.
FREE - Charlotte Bobcats