Syracuse students agree: Time to bounce back in a big way.
Tough loss on Saturday. Syracuse is no longer #1. #3/4 isn't so bad though. And now they travel to Cincy to take on the pretty good Bearcats in a sold out arena. Although Cincinnati can't spell the word involved (look closely), this game will be tough.
Fab Melo is still not where the team is. That is a problem in terms of being able to stop Yancy Gates. He averages 12.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, and has one hell of a right cross. You can debate for yourself if he should still be on Cincy, but he is and will probably eat up Baye Moussa Keita and Rakeem Christmas on the inside. Which means that Syracuse has to score. Especially since Sean Kilpatrick averages 16ppg. While they don't have one individual that can consistently hit outside shots, they shoot the ball well from the outside as a team. Syracuse will have to be active guarding the perimeter but not fall into the huge trap of biting on every overload of the zone, giving Gates a really easy bucket. Really though, this preview comes down to the gut feeling and pretty standard logic that after a team has a really bad shooting night like Syracuse did Saturday, where three or four big time players had a terrible offensive night, that that doesn't happen two games in a row. Syracuse has to play Gates tough, but Syracuse has really owned Cincy for the most part since entering the league. Syracuse also has 8-9 reliable scorers, where Cincy plays eight, and only seven really do much of anything. Especially if Gates gets into foul trouble, this game could be a nice win for Syracuse. I do like the Orange, but this will be another close game and Syracuse will probably have to play from behind but should take the lead down the stretch in the second half. A nice start would also help. Syracuse needs to come out firing on all cylinders, as Cincy will probably do the same. Our good friend Scott knows I'm pretty good at picking Syracuse/Cincy games, so he'll be sad to know I'm picking the Orange by 8.
This game is again on Big Monday. ESPN national broadcast with the A Team of McDonough/Bilas/Raftery on hand, starting at 7:00pm. Should be another game that Syracuse fans will sweat out. Since this is on the road be sure to check out Twitter and harass Scott from The Bearcats Blog @BearcatsBlog, and join our tomfoolery of course. Enjoy.