Why Syracuse's postseason ban is a 'convenient' punishment
2:08 | College Basketball
Why Syracuse's postseason ban is a 'convenient' punishment
Friday February 13th, 2015

The Syracuse Orange aren't eligible for the postseason due to a self-imposed ban, but they should still be excited for Saturday's ACC matchup with Duke given how great last year's pair of games with the Blue Devils were.

Unlike last year, however, the Orange will be home underdogs on the college basketball betting lines when they host a Duke team that is battling Virginia for the ACC title.

The Blue Devils bring a four-game winning streak into the Carrier Dome, where they lost 91-89 in overtime last year in front of the largest on-campus crowd in NCAA history but managed to cover the spread as 4-point road underdogs at sportsbooks monitored by Syracuse has already announced a sellout for Saturday’s game as well, meaning a record-tying 35,446 fans will again be packing the Dome.

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While the Orange have won eight of their last nine home games, they have fared poorly there against the spread lately, failing to cover each of their past four. In fact, they were only 1-9-1 ATS in their previous 11 games before beating Boston College 70-56 on Wednesday as 2-point road favorites.

Duke has gone 2-2 ATS during its winning streak and did not cover as a 10.5-point road favorite in a 73-70 victory against Florida State on Monday. The Blue Devils got a season-high 26 points from senior guard Quinn Cook in the win at Florida State with freshman center Jahlil Okafor adding 13 points, including 11 in the second half.

Okafor will likely be tested inside by Syracuse senior center Rakeem Christmas, who is one of the most improved players in the ACC. Christmas is averaging a career-high 18 points and 9.3 rebounds per game compared to Okafor at 18 and 9.1, respectively. Okafor is widely considered to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft if he leaves Duke early, and Christmas has worked himself into becoming a potential first-round selection after underachieving for three seasons.

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