When will 'Cuse and Wichita fall?
LAS VEGAS, NV (The Spread) - Upsets in college basketball are commonplace. So when will Syracuse and/or Wichita State fall?
Last weekend, we saw Arizona fall to rival Arizona State, 69-66 as a 5.5-point underdog to lose their second game of the season on Saturday. We also saw Michigan State as a 14-point home favorite fall to Nebraska, 60-51 on Sunday.
Maryland lost as a 13.5-point underdog to Duke by just one point on Saturday and as their last-second shot stayed on the rim for a second before falling out. On Tuesday, Kansas (-8) nearly fell to Texas Tech and came back to beat them on the road, 64-63.
But two teams remain undefeated this year as head towards March Madness in Wichita State and Syracuse. The Shockers haven't had many close calls in the Missouri Valley Conference, while Syracuse has barely defeated Pittsburgh, Duke and North Carolina State at home, In fact, they beat those three teams by a total five combined points.
So will Wichita State ever lose a game again before the NCAA Tournament? At 27-0 (before the Loyola-Chicago
game on Wednesday night), the Shockers have very little chance of losing their last four games. Their last three games consist of Drake (14-13) at home, Bradley (11-17) on the road and they end with Missouri State (17-10) at home. That game against the Bears could be the toughest as Missouri State gave the Shockers their toughest game of the season by far. The Bears took Wichita State to overtime at home, losing 72-69 as a 9.5-point underdog. They held Wichita State to 35.3 percent shooting from the field and 5-of-22 from beyond the arc.
The best bet in that scenario is to go with Missouri State to cover that game on March 1.
Syracuse is 25-0 and while they've been playing good basketball, they haven't been dominating teams like Wichita State has. That's understandable considering the fact that the Orange has moved from the Big East to the tougher Atlantic Coast Conference.
After facing Boston College at home on Wednesday, Syracuse will really be tested with four of their last five games on the road. If they can get through this stretch without a loss or even two, it would be surprising. They take on Duke on Saturday as a likely 3-4 point dog from Cameron Indoor Stadium. That's quite a reversal after playing the Blue Devils in front of over 35,000 at the Carrier Dome on Feb. 1.
The Orange takes on a hungry Maryland team on Monday, Feb. 24 in front of a sold-out crowd at the Comcast Center. Maryland took Duke to the limit on the road and a win over Syracuse would give them a shot at the NCAA Tournament. They have five days off before taking on Virginia, a team that has won 10 straight and it's likely to be 12 straight with Notre Dame and Miami-Florida coming up before Syracuse.
They finish with Georgia Tech at home and a slumping Florida State team on the road on March 9. The toughest thing about the FSU game is the trip from Syracuse to Tallahassee and the Seminoles could steal this one as they have two seven-footers and one of the biggest teams in college basketball.