NCAA Basketball Betting: Middle Tennessee State vs. Syracuse

NCAA Basketball Betting:  Middle Tennessee State vs. Syracuse

Middle Tennessee State has pulled the biggest upset of the tournament to date, eliminating a Michigan State team that they realistically had no business staying inside double digits against. The Blue Raiders return four starters from a year ago and added a scoring threat with one of the best names in college hoops: Giddy Potts. Giddy likes to create inside but can also shoot the three (50.3%). Now MTSU is a national darling, the living example of how anything can happen in ‘March Madness’.

Unfortunately, it’ll all end today for the Blue Raiders. Middle Tennessee is getting their first taste of NCAA tournament play in program history. To be technically correct, they qualified for the tournament in 2013 but were subjected to a #11 seed ‘play in’ game where they were summarily dismissed by West Coast Conference entrant St. Mary’s. So this is the first time making the field of 64. They were tagged as a team that’s just ‘happy to be here’ before the tournament but Michigan State handed them a gift wrapped upset by completely overlooking a team with good size and athleticism. Now they’re an inexperienced tournament team in serious ‘letdown mode’ after the biggest win in program history.

This isn’t a great Syracuse team but they don’t need to be to get a victory here. You can say what you want about the Orange and head coach Jim Boeheim but they’re the epitome of ‘postseason experience. This is Syracuse’s 22nd NCAA tournament game in the past ten years. They’re not expected to go very far and have heard plenty of talk about how they ‘don’t belong’. That’s fuel for a cagey coaching veteran like Boeheim. Syracuse will bring their patented matchup zone and make life very difficult for Giddy Potts trying to get inside. Sure, the way to beat a matchup zone is with three point shooting but not sure that Potts’ teammates are good enough from beyond the arc to give Syracuse trouble.

The biggest issue, however, is the mindset of these teams. MTSU is sky high after their victory and is in for a rude comeuppance. They’ve heard nothing but how wonderful they are for the past 48 hours. Syracuse, meanwhile, has heard nothing other than how this is a ‘weak Orange team’ and how they don’t belong. And the public love for the underdog has made this price very reasonable.