The first half of ESPN’s Big Monday doubleheader will come from the Carrier Dome as Bob Huggins’ West Virginia Mountaineers head north to battle Jim Boeheim’s reeling Syracuse Orange. 

Tonights matchup is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET. Current NCAA basketball odds have the home Orange listed as a five-point favorite. The total currently stands at 133 points. Check SBRodds for up-to-date information on the side and total.

Struggling Mountaineers

West Virginia enters the contest on a three-game ATS losing streak. The Mountaineers are 2-1 SU over that stretch after gaining an 82-71 victory over DePaul on Saturday as a 17 ½-point favorite.

West Virginia is plagued by a lack of shooting touch and lack of size. Despite their short stature, Huggins has his team playing a physical style of basketball, and the Mountaineers are holding their own on the boards.

Scoop JardineOrange Crush(ed)

After an 18-0 start to the season, many felt that Syracuse had a solid shot to reach the Final Four this season. They currently look like a team primed for a first-weekend exit after losing six of eight, including a 73-69 defeat at Louisville on Saturday.

In the words of Austin Powers, this team has lost its “mojo.” The Orange is not playing badly, but they currently lack confidence and a killer instinct.

Interesting Sagarin Numbers

The current Sagarin Ratings have Syracuse ranked 12th with a power rating of 88.28. West Virginia is ranked 21st with a power rating of 86.35. Those numbers would make Syracuse a six-point home favorite. Sagarin’s Predictor Ratings, however, do not respect the Orange as much. Syracuse is a five-point favorite over the Mountaineers according to those numbers.

Series Trends

Syracuse, quite simply, dominates this series. The Orange has won nine of 10 matchups SU posting an 8-2 ATS record. On January 10, Syracuse was victorious in Morgantown by a 72-71 score as a five-point ‘dog. The ‘Cuse are 3-1 ATS against WVU at the Carrier Dome since 2005.

Five of the last six matchups have gone ‘under’ the posted total.

Deceptive Stats

If one looks at the season stats for these teams, Syracuse looks like a can’t-miss lock. The fact is, though, that West Virginia’s offensive numbers are only slightly lower than Syracuse’s over the last five games. The Mountaineers have been stronger than the Orange defensively and on the boards in February.

Home Sweet Dome

Despite their recent struggles, Syracuse is going to be my ATS pick. West Virginia simply does not play well in the Carrier Dome. I think that the Mountaineers are going to have a rough time scoring against the 2/3 Syracuse zone. Teams that shoot the ball well have difficulty in the Carrier Dome, and no one can accuse this West Virginia team of being an offensive juggernaut. The Mountaineers will play hard, as always, but the Orange simply has too many playmakers against an overmatched team. Take the home team and give the points.

I also believe this game will squeak ‘under’ 133 points. As I have said, offense is going to be shaky for both clubs. In addition, Huggins is not afraid to allow his team to run extremely long offensive sets. Since West Virginia will have a slight advantage on the boards, this is a major factor supporting an ‘under’ play.

The Pick

Syracuse picks up a bruising home win by a score of 63-55. Take the Orange and the ‘under’ for one-unit apiece.

Thanks to yahoo.com, espn.com, usatoday.com, and sbrodds.com for all records, trends, and statistics.