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Syracuse vs. Louisville prediction: College basketball odds, pick

It’s hard to find many good things to say about the Louisville men’s basketball team, which is on pace for its worst season since World War II. It’s even harder to find reasons to back this group in Tuesday’s conference opener against Syracuse, which has turned it on after a slow start to the year.

Syracuse vs. Louisville prediction

A month ago, it looked like the Orange might be headed for a Louisville-like season after losing four of its first seven games. Then Syracuse edged Notre Dame in its ACC opener to spark a 6-1 run over its last seven games, blemished only by a two-point loss against Pittsburgh.

The Cardinals, meanwhile, own wins over Western Kentucky and Florida A&M but have dropped their other 12 contests by an average of 16.4 points per game. Saturday’s 23-point loss at Kentucky marked this team’s sixth loss by at least 20 points and the fifth time its mediocre defense has allowed 80-plus points.

Joseph Girard III #11 of the Syracuse Orange reacts after shooting a three
Joseph Girard III #11 of the Syracuse Orange reacts after shooting a three
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That isn’t even the worst issue. As has been the case all year, Louisville’s iso-heavy offense is plagued by comically bad ball movement: the Cardinals are turning it over on 23.8 percent of their possessions, and they’ve generated an assist on just 40.1 percent of their made field goals — both ranking among the very worst marks in college basketball.

Syracuse won by 23 points when these two teams played last year, and its 2-3 zone should frustrate this listless Louisville offense to no end. Expect a blowout in this one.

THE PLAY: Syracuse -9 (BetMGM)

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