If you thought Syracuse was having a down year at 9-5 at this point in the season, what’s happened to the Louisville program is downright shocking, and the odds for tonight’s Syracuse vs. Louisville contest suggest that.
The Cardinals (2-12, 0-3 ACC) have lost to the likes of Bellarmine, Wright State, Appalachian State, and Lipscomb. In games against power-conference teams, Louisville lost by double digits to all of them. Seven of the eight losses have been by at least 19 points.
Enter Syracuse into the KFC Yum Center for a 9 p.m. ET tip on Tuesday night. The Orange (9-5, 2-1 ACC) come into the game winners of five of their last six. In their last game, they covered a 9.5-point spread in a 79-65 win over Boston College at home.
Let’s take a look at how Syracuse has somewhat turned things around after an awful start to their season.
Mintz Stabilizing Syracuse’s Offensive Attack to Lead Orange vs. Louisville
Freshman Judah Mintz continued to progress on Saturday against BC, where he scored 18 points and had seven assists in leading the offense. The performance helped him earn the ACC Rookie of the Week award for the third time this season.
In addition, Joe Girard III had a solid game with 24 points, and Benny Williams recorded a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
The young Orange team faces an interesting scenario tonight in Louisville. The Cardinals are 6-4 both straight-up and against the spread in their last 10 against Syracuse, but the Orange won 92-69 last February in their only meeting since the 2019-20 season.
Louisville Losing at Historic Levels Going Into Matchup With Syracuse
While the Orange are expected to win, there is pressure to do so against a team that’s struggling at a level that program hasn’t seen in generations. There has been a losing season here and there, but after a 13-19 record a year ago, the team is likely to have back-to-back losing campaigns for the first time since 1941-42.
Syracuse dominates in every statistical category. The Orange score 75.6 points per game compared to the Cardinals’ 61.5. They are allowing five fewer points per game, rebounding six more balls, and blocking four more shots. When it comes to ball protection, Louisville has 16.6 turnovers per game as opposed to SU’s 11.4 per contest.
What helped the Orange against BC is that they played against a struggling offense. The defense, which hasn’t been the best under Jim Boeheim in the past few years, rose to the occasion to stop the Eagles, and Louisville’s 61.5 PPG average isn’t much to fear.
Syracuse to Focus Defensive Effort on Louisville’s Ellis
Cardinals senior guard El Ellis accounts for 17.5 of the 61.5 that Louisville puts up. He is coming off a 23-point effort in a 86-63 loss at in-state rival Kentucky on Saturday and has knocked down at least 44% of his 3-point shots in three of his last five games. A hot-shooting night from beyond the arc is the best chance that Louisville has to compete in this game.
Syracuse vs. Louisville Odds
According to Caesars Sportsbook, the Orange are heavy favorites for the second-straight ACC contest. Here’s a look at the Syracuse vs. Louisville odds.
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Over their recent 6-1 run, Syracuse is 5-2 against the spread. Louisville, meanwhile, has been nearly just as bad against the spread as they have been in general. The Cardinals’ ATS record is 3-11 and just 1-7 ATS on their home floor.
The 10-day break over the Christmas holiday seemed to help the Orange recover from their two-point loss against Pittsburgh where they charged back from double-digits down to nearly win. They responded with a solid and undramatic win over Boston College. They should do the same tonight before the ACC schedule increases in difficulty.
Prediction: Syracuse 79, Louisville 61