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Longshot Orange on hot March run

Syracuse has confounded college basketball bettors in the past with hot and cold streaks, beating the March Madness odds sometimes and failing to cover unexpectedly other times.

The Orange look to continue their dream run in the Big East tournament today after a pair of OT thrillers at Madison Square Garden. It is down to the last games of conference tournaments and there are still some bubble teams as well as a few that look to improve their seed in the Big Dance.

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Big East odds - No. 20 Syracuse Orangemen (26-8 11-7 Big East) vs. Louisville Cardinals (27-5 16-2 Big East) (Check for opening odds on this game at Bovada )

Both of these teams are assured of a ticket to the dance, but this game means more to Louisville, as if they win the Big East Title they may get a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. It is the highlight so far of conference championship finals weekend.

Will the Orangemen be fresh after playing seven OTs in their last two games? The Cardinals have a stacked frontcourt with forwards Samardo Samuels (11.8 ppg), Terrence Williams (12.4 ppg), and G/F Earl Clark (14.1 ppg).

The Orangeman have better backcourt scoring, but the key may be if F Paul Harris (12.8 ppg 8 rpg) plays well inside tonight and keeps Clark (8.8 rpg) and Williams (8.5 rpg) off the glass.

In their only meeting of the season the Cardinals beat the Orangemen by 10 points at Syracuse.

The Cardinals have had no problems getting to the finals, while the Orangemen have played two OT games in a row. Look for Louisville to be fresh and dominate the inside, as they should win this game, snag a number one seed, and cover the spread whatever it is.

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ACC game lines - Maryland Terrapins (20-12 7-9 ACC) vs. Duke Blue Devils (26-6 11-5 ACC)

Even though the Terps made it to the ACC Semifinals, they may need to win this game to get to the NCAA Tournament, as they are two games below .500 in the ACC. The Terps beat 8th ranked Wake Forest in the last round, but that may not be enough. The Blue Devils still have a shot at a No. 1 seed if they win the conference tournament, but NCAAB bettors should be aware of Duke's awful record against the spread (1-8 ATS past 9 tourney games).

For Maryland to win, Greivis Vasquez will have to have a good game, as he leads the Terps in scoring, rebounding, steals, and assists. If he struggles or Duke plays great defense against him, the Terps will be in trouble, as they do not have a deep team.

Maryland also cannot let F Kyle Singler (16.5 ppg 7.7 rpg) dominate inside, both scoring and on the glass, as that will spell trouble for Maryland.

Duke has won their last four games against the Terps by an average of 18.3 ppg. Duke beat Maryland twice this season including at Maryland by 11 points at Duke by 41 points in a major blowout.

The Terps do not match up well with the Blue Devils, which can be seen by their big losses this season, as that should not change this afternoon. The Blue Devils should easily win this game and move on to the ACC Championship game.

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