EASTERN MICHIGAN EAGLES (5-1)
at SYRACUSE ORANGE (5-0)
Tip-off: Monday, 7:00 p.m. ET
Line: Syracuse -24.5, Total: 119.5
The Eastern Michigan Eagles will look to hang with No. 6 Syracuse in a tough road test at the Carrier Dome Monday night.
The Orange are coming off a fast-paced 91-82 win against Arkansas in which they improved to 3-0 ATS on the season, but needed forward James Southerland to hit 9-of-13 three-pointers to do so. The Eagles play a slower brand of ball, averaging just 62.0 PPG (278th in Division I) and are 5-1 to begin the season, but they have yet to play a major conference foe to test their skills.
Can Syracuse win by such a large margin? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season The StatFox experts are a collective 52% ATS (90-83-5) in college basketball Best Bets for the season, led by StatFox Gary, who is 6-2 ATS in the past eight days and 61% ATS (19-12) for the season. StatFox Dave is at 53% ATS (32-26) for the season after going 58% ATS (26-19-1) since Nov. 17. StatFox Brian is 4-1 ATS (80%) in the past three days to even his season mark to 50% ATS.
Southerland is coming off a career-high 35 points but has had a solid season all around, averaging 19.2 points, 1.6 blocks and 1.4 steals per game for the Orange. And at 6-foot-8, he presents matchup problems when he steps onto the perimeter. Carter-Williams and Southerland are just two Syracuse players averaging double-digit points though, with Brandon Triche (15.6 PPG, 2.2 SPG) and C.J. Fair (11.2 PPG, 5.6 RPG) rounding out the crew. Carter-Williams and Triche are nasty defensively on the outside, combining to average 6.0 SPG. But Boeheim will also need strong performances from interior players Rakeem Christmas (6.2 PPG, 5.2 RPG), who is coming off a scoreless night at Arkansas, and DaJuan Coleman (5.8 PPG, 5.4 RPG) to step up and battle the boards against Riley. The Orange rank 20th in the nation in rebounds (42.2 RPG).
Three Eagles average double-digit points, led by dangerous swingman Daylen Harrison (14.2 PPG, 7.0 RPG) who is often forced to play on the block, but possesses the skill set of a guard at 6-foot-6. He's shooting well from all areas of the floor with 52% FG, 40% 3-pt FG and 86% FT. He is regularly their best scoring asset, but Derek Thompson (12.8 PPG, 43% 3-pt FG) and Glenn Bryant (10.8 PPG, 4.2 RPG) are also potent. Freshman Jalen Ross could also be a surprise weapon, averaging a team-high 3.3 APG despite playing just 19.8 MPG. And if Riley can assert his size in the paint, Eastern Michigan might just hang tight with this Orange squad that may just overlook this opponent.