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Marquette, Syracuse Advance to Elite 8

The current Big East got a big boost Thursday as both Marquette and Syracuse upset favored opposition to book a place in the Elite Eight.

The two sides will meet in the East Regional final in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, after defeating Miami and Indiana respectively.

The Big East showdown will be the first of four regional finals to be played this weekend. Tip-off on Saturday is scheduled for 4:30 PM ET.

(3) Marquette 71, (2) Miami 61

Vander Blue and Marquette advance to the East Regional final after beating Miami 71-61.

Vander Blue and Marquette advance to the East Regional final after beating Miami 71-61.

Miami’s unimaginable season finally came to a halt Thursday as the Hurricanes failed to handle an efficient Marquette side.

The third-seeded Golden Eagles have made a habit of keeping it close this tournament, needing late game heroics to fend off Davidson and Butler. Buzz Williams’ side needed no such ‘fortune’ on Thursday though.

Marquette sliced and diced the Miami defense on the way to a lopsided 29-16 halftime lead. The Hurricanes put on a better display in the second half, but failed to cut significantly into that lead, ultimately coming up 10 points short.

The Golden Eagles – who will appear in the Elite Eight for the first time since the 2003 – shot an impressive 54 percent from the field, including 50 percent from beyond the arc. Miami’s usually stingy defense – which had held opponents to just 39.6 percent shooting on the season – never seemed to click.

Marquette covered the spread (+5.5) and moves to 2-1-0 ATS during the NCAA tournament. The Golden Eagles are now 15-15-0 ATS all-told this season.

Miami finished the tournament 1-1-0 ATS and 20-11-2 ATS on the season.

The total (127) went over. Marquette is now 2-1-0 in favor of the over this tournament, and 17-13-0 in favor of the over on the season.

Marquette now moves on to the East Regional final. After the disappointment of Thursday’s loss dissipates, Jim Larranaga and Miami can look back on a season that far exceeded expectations.

(4) Syracuse 61, (1) Indiana 50

Syracuse's suffocating defense was too much for the top-seeded Indiana Hoosiers.

Syracuse’s suffocating defense was too much for the top-seeded Indiana Hoosiers.

Much-heralded all season, Indiana’s hopes of a first national championship since 1987 were boxed-up by Syracuse’s 2-3 zone, which held the Hoosiers to a season low 50 points.

Tom Crean’s side had no answer for the well-executed Syracuse defense, which held the top-seeded team to just 33 percent shooting. What’s more, Indiana – the nation’s fourth best team three-point shooting team this season – hit just 3-15 (20%) from behind the arc.

Syracuse didn’t exactly shoot the lights out, but the side’s 44 percent from the field and 36 percent from three made all the difference in what was a fairly even game across the rest of the box score.

The Orangemen were led by Michael Carter-Williams who tallied 24 points while Brandon Triche (14pts) and C.J. Fair (11pts) made it into double figures. Victor Oladipo paced the Hoosiers with 16 points on 5-6 shooting, one of the few bright spots for the preseason favorites.

The upset win saw Syracuse cover the spread (+6), moving the Orangemen to 2-1-1 ATS this tournament. The upstate New York side is 18-15-1 ATS across the season.

Indiana finishes the tournament 0-3-0 ATS and 17-17-0 ATS on the season.

The total (135) went under in this one. Syracuse is now 0-3-0, favoring the under, this tournament, and 14-19-0, also favoring the under, on the season.

Syracuse moves on to the Regional final for the second straight season. Last year saw the side – a No. 1 seed at the time – fall to Ohio State.

A win over Marquette on Saturday would mark the first time the school has advanced to the Final Four since Carmelo Anthony took the side to a national championship in 2003.

East Regional Final Preview

It proves somewhat fitting that Marquette (26-8, 14-4 Big East) and Syracuse (29-9, 11-7 Big East) should meet in the high-profile final on Saturday.

With the Big East finished as we know it, this will be the last time the two schools hook up for the foreseeable future. Granted, Marquette has been in the conference less than a decade but there’s no denying that this season’s conference co-champions taking on the team that has been there since the beginning will be well worth the price of admission.

Neutral fans might be a little miffed they’re not getting that Indiana-Miami matchup they longed for, but this is a game with some meat on its bones.

Marquette handed Syracuse a 74-71 defeat in Milwaukee on Feb. 25, the only meeting between the schools this season. That marked the second of three straight losses, and four in five games that saw Syracuse go from high-rollers to liability in the eyes of bettors. Of course, the Orange has been much better over the past two weeks.

Syracuse owns a 7-4 advantage over Marquette in the head-to-head since 1979.

The winner will face the South Regional winner in the Final Four. A win in that game could set-up a potential all-Big East national championship game against Louisville. Of course, we’re a ways away from that just yet so you might want to hold-off on getting two excited.

The two schools will return to the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., on Saturday. Keep it locked to BettingSports.com for the latest updates and odds going forward.


East Regionals

Results (First Round)

(16) James Madison 68, (16) LIU Brooklyn 55

Results (Second Round)

(1) Indiana 83, (16) James Madison 62

(2) Miami 78, (15) Pacific 49

(3) Marquette 59, (14) Davidson 58

(4) Syracuse 81, (13) Montana 34

(12) California 64, (5) UNLV 61

(6) Butler 68, (11) Bucknell 56

(7) Illinois 57, (10) Colorado 49

(9) Temple 76, (8 ) North Carolina State 72

Results (Third Round)

(1) Indiana 58, (9) Temple 52

(2) Miami 63, (7) Illinois 59

(3) Marquette 74, (6) Butler 72

(4) Syracuse 66, (12) California 60

Schedule (Regional Semifinals)

(4) Syracuse 61, (1) Indiana 50

(3) Marquette 71, (2) Miami 61

Schedule (Regional Final)

(4) Syracuse vs. (3) Marquette (Sat., 4:30 PM ET)

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