Syracuse Orange vs. Cal Golden Bears Preview and Pick – Point Spread – Betting Odds

No. 24 Syracuse Orangemen (2-0 2-0 ATS) vs. No. 12 California Golden Bears (2-0 1-1 ATS) Madison Square Garden, New York, NY 7 PM EST Thursday November 19, 2009 on ESPN
by Jason Green at

Point Spread: Pick-em
Over/Under: OFF

Tonight in the 2K Sports Classic in the Big Apple the 11th ranked California Golden Bears face the 24th ranked Syracuse Orangemen.

The Bears are picked by many to win the Pac 10 this season and the Orangemen will be in the Big East race and this is the first real test for each teams since both have played weak teams in their first 2 games. It is important that Cal gets off to a good start in this game, as in their first 2 games the only shot 40% from the field in the 1st half. That is not good facing a Syracuse team that has allowed their first 2 opponents to average only 26 points in the 1st half while only shooting 32.7 % from the floor. This game is not on the home floor of the Orangemen, but since the game is in New York they will have the crowd behind them and not the Bears, who are from the other end of the country.

In their last game Syracuse crushed the Robert Morris Colonials 100-60. The high scorer for the Orangemen was Andy Rautins going for 22 points on 7/10 shooting. All of his points from the field came on 3-pointers. For the game the Orangemen shot lights out going 35/60 from the floor for a scorching FG% of 58.3%. On defense the Orangemen held the Colonials to only 22/62 for a paltry FG% of 35.5%.

Cal won their last game laying a beat down on the Detroit Titans 95-61. The high scorers for the Golden Bears were Theo Robertson and Jerome Randle each going for 22 points. For the game the Bears shot well going 29/61 for a legit FG% of 47.5%. On D the Bears clamped down holding the Titans to only 20/57 from the floor for a weak FG% of 35.1%.

The Bears are one of the best 3-pt shooting teams in college and the Orangemen will have to play solid perimeter defense tonight.

The Bears do not have the best frontcourt, but if they score tonight in the paint it will allow the legit 3-pt shooters of the Bears to have open looks from downtown.

Speaking of 3-pt shooting the Bears will have to clamp down on Cuse’ G Andy Rautins (11 ppg), who was 7/10 from downtown in the win over Robert Morris.

Both teams do not have a lot of size so each team has to hit the boards, as unit since neither team features a very strong guy on the glass.

The Bears will not be intimidated in this game, as they have a lot of senior leadership with seniors G Jerome Randle (20 ppg), G Patrick Christopher (15.5 ppg), and F Theo Robertson (18 ppg).

Arinze Onuaku (14 ppg) is the leading returning scorer for the Orangemen and he has to score some points inside tonight, as that will open up the shooting lanes.

The Bears cannot come out flat tonight like they have in their last 2 games. Getting off to a good start is important for them, as if they are down early they will have to hit their 3-pt bombs in order to come back and win.

In the past few seasons Cal has been solid at the beginning of the season going 19-3 in the last 4 years in the month of November. They will face either #6 defending champion North Carolina or #15 Ohio State tomorrow night, but they can’t look past Syracuse that is playing well after their embarrassing loss to Division 2 Le Moyne in the pre-season.

Jason’s Pick: Since this is the first real test for either team the team that can execute their strength will win this game. If the Bears can hit the long ball they will win and if Cuse’ plays solid D they will win. The Bears have a little more experience and they are poised for a big year and I think they will win this game handing the Orangemen their first loss of the season.