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No. 11 Syracuse vs. No. 3 West Virginia preview, picks for second round of 2021 NCAA Tournament

The Syracuse Orange and West Virginia Mountaineers meet at ARENA in the second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. We’ve got everything you need on both teams ahead of the game here.

Syracuse Orange guard Buddy Boeheim celebrates against the San Diego State Aztecs during the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Hinkle Fieldhouse.  Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

After a dominating performance in the biggest upset against the point spread in Friday’s NCAA Tournament, the No. 11 Syracuse Orange will face the No. 3 West Virginia Mountaineers on Sunday at 5:15 p.m. at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

We take a look at the matchup below.

No. 11 Syracuse: 17-9 (9-7 ACC):

First round result: Defeated No. 6 San Diego State 78-62
KenPom rating: 38 Overall, 13 Offense, 91 Defense
NET ranking: 40, (2-7 vs. Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Buddy Boeheim (17.1 ppg)
Key stat: ‘Cuse shoots 78.6% from the line, good for 13th in the country.

The coach’s kid went ballistic in the first round for the Orange, scoring 30 points on 11-15 from the field. He was borderline unconscious all game long, and the inability of the Aztecs to do anything but chuck up shots against the 2-3 zone sent them home. SDSU went 11-40 from downtown, and didn’t rebound well at all.

It’s a different type of matchup against the Mountaineers however, who is a team that plays inside out instead of the other way around.

No. 3 West Virginia: 19-9 (11-6 Big 12):

First round result: Defeated No. 14 Morehead State 84-67
KenPom rating: 21 Overall, 10 Offense, 65 Defense
NET ranking: 24 (7-7 vs. Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Miles McBride (15.4 ppg)
Key stat: WVU recovers 35.6% of their misses, good for 13th in D-1.

Bob Huggins got his 900th win in a reasonably comfortable rout of the Eagles. Miles McBride went for 30 points on 8-13 from the floor, but the vaunted defense of Huggins previous teams would have been displeased to allow the OVC champions to shoot 10-19 from three-point range.

But this is a different look West Virginia, one that can score with much more aplomb both in and out of the paint. Look for them to try to find Derek Culver in the middle of the Syracuse zone, and play through the posts as much as possible.

Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Point spread: West Virginia -3.5
Point total: 147
Moneyline: Syracuse +140, West Virginia -167

The Pick

Against The Spread Pick: West Virginia -3.5
Point total pick: Under
Pick to Win: West Virginia

Syracuse looked like a Top 10 team in their destruction of the Mountain West Champions, but that was all the forces in basketball coalescing at the same time. West Virginia creates physical matchups that are just harder for the Orange to contain, and you better believe Bob Huggins will know how to attack a zone defense without just chucking bad shots.

The talent disparity here will take over, and Syracuse goes home.

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