Friday, January 14, 2011

Undefeated Syracuse Orangemen Host Cincinnati


Coming off a rousing 76-59 victory over the Red Storm of St. Johns, the #4 Syracuse Orangemen will host the Cincinnati Bearcats in the Carrier Dome Saturday for a 12:00PM tip-off. The Bearcats, ranked 25th in the AP Top-25, come to Syracuse after knocking of the USF Bulls 74-66 and are 16-1 on the year, 3-1 in the Big East.

Cincinnati's lone loss came January 9th when the Bearcats traveled to Philadelphia, PA to take on the #7 Villanova Wildcats. Nova beat Cinci 72-61 on that fateful day. Cincinnati also has a very balanced and deep bench which boasts a 9 man rotation.

Leading the Bearcats in scoring is Dion Dixon (6'3" 195 pounds) who is averaging 12.5 points per game and shoots 31.1% from beyond the arc. While Dixon isn't much of a rebounding threat, he has averaged 7 rebounds per game in his last 3 outings and had a season high 23 points on December 21st at Miami of Ohio.

Local kid Yancy Gates (6'9" 260 pounds) out of Cincinnati, OH is the second leading scorer on the team, averaging 11.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Gates shoots 50.3% from the field and scored a season high 22 points against Xavier on January 6th while pulling down 14 rebounds (also a season high).

Freshman guard Sean Kilpatrick (6'4" 215 pounds) is a serious scoring threat and spark off the bench for Cinci. Although he averages just 10 points per game, he shoots 41.5% from 3-point range. Kilpatrick was 4 of 5 from three in the last game against USF en route to a 18 point night, twelve of which came in the first half. He also posted a season high 26 points on December 1st against Wright State while going 5 for 5 from beyond the arc.

Leading the 17-0 (4-0 Big East) Syracuse Orangemen has been Rick Jackson, Scoop Jardine, Kris Joseph and Brandon Triche. All four players are averaging in double digits this season, and Rick Jackson is also averaging 11.8 rebounds per game to lead the Cuse.

Kris Joseph is averaging 18.4 points in his last 7 games and has been piling up the rebounds in that same time period. Brandon Triche is coming off back-to-back strong shooting efforts and 15 point games while the Philadelphia Connection has been pacing the Cuse.

Rick Jackson has averaged 10.5 points and 11.5 rebounds during Big East play while his Scoop Jardine has averaged 16.6 points in his last 5 games. All four players have picked up their games another notch since Big East play began, and Rick Jackson has been playing an increased role at the center position.

With Rick Jackson playing increasingly more minutes at center, that means that Fab Melo and Baye Moussa Keita have been playing sparingly. While Keita was able to hold his own defensively during the non-conference portion of Syracuse's schedule, his defensive shortcomings have been exposed in the Big East.

With #5 Pittsburgh lurking in the shadows of Big Monday, it's very important for Syracuse to not get caught looking past the Bearcats. The Orangemen must have the same sense of urgency they have shown all season on defense, and not let the Bearcats get hot from the floor. Cincinnati is 16-1, they are no pushover, and in an extremely tough Big East, every game will be a dog fight.

The game will be televised live on the Big East Network, SNY, and tip-off is at 12:00PM from the Carrier Dome. Be sure to check back in with The Cuse Connection following the game for recap and analysis.


photo courtesy of syracuse.com

No comments: