Syracuse Oklahoma

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MARCH MADNESS 2009 Line  Oklahoma -1 O/U 153


Anyone who has watched Sportcenter lately had to have seen the hit delivered to Blake Griffin of the Oklahoma Sooners in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The opposing team, Morgan State, was being absolutely dismantled, and one of their players decided to pull a MACho Man Randy Savage move on Griffin. He was subsequently ejected, and Griffin seemed unfazed. That kind of tenacity and toughness is the reason the Sooners have made it the Sweet Sixteen, and the reason why Griffin is the favorite to be Player of the Year. Oklahoma will meet its toughest challenge yet in the Syracuse Orange. 

The Syracuse Orange gained quite a bit of notoriety after beating the Connecticut Huskies in six overtimes during the Big East Tournament. That Game was the second longest in NCAA Tournament history. They followed that up with a win against West Virginia in overtime, but ran out of gas in the Big East title Game against the top seeded Louisville Cardinals. They kicked off their NCAA Tournament with a win over Stephen F. Austin. The Orange followed that win up with a fairly easy victory over Arizona State. They will find an entirely different beast in the Oklahoma Sooners. 

When the Sooners are on, they are one of the best teams in the country. Blake Griffin and Willie Warren are two of the most highly regarded players in the nation. After beating Morgan State in the first round, they were tasked with dismissing a hot Michigan team. They allowed the Wolverines to hang around until halftime but ended winning the Game by a score of 73-63. If they want to beat the Orange they will need to get a lead early and keep piling it on. Syracuse proved in the Big East Tournament, that if you let them hang around they can be dangerous. 

Syracuse’s Jonn Flynn should be getting just as much talk as Griffin. Flynn is among the best five guards in the country, if not the very best. He is putting up a massive 17.3 PPG, and delivering 6.7 APG. Arizne Onuaku will be doing his best to compete with Griffin for the boards. He is averaging 7.3 RPG. Syracuse isn’t the best team when playing on the road, with a record of 5-4. They will need to play with the same vigor that they would at home to hang with the Sooners. 

The Sooners have stumbled a bit down the stretch, but it looks like they have regained their swagger for the NCAA Tournament. As I’ve previously stated, they will rely heavily on Blake Griffin and Willie Warren. Griffin is a statistical nightmare for the opposing team, with 22.5 PPG, 14.3 RPG, and 2.3 APG. Warren will also make a huge difference. He is good for 14.7 PPG. Blake’s brother, Taylor Griffin, doesn’t get nearly as much coverage, but his 9.8 PPG and 6 RPG will be of consequence if the Sooners are able to pull out a victory over the Orange. 

The line is very tight, with Oklahoma as the favorite by just a single point. While a Syracuse victory would come as a surprise to no one, I expect the Sooners to dominate the Game. Griffin is going to show why he should be Player of the Year. I think Oklahoma will beat Syracuse by about 6 points. I’d parlay them with the under at 143.5. No matter who you like, check back to for the latest NCAA Tournament information!



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