The No. 4-ranked Syracuse Orange won the programs 1,800th game Wednesday night, beating the upstart St. John's Red Storm, 76-59, at Madison Square Garden. The victory propelled SU to a 17-0 overall record, a mark only accomplished twice during head coach Jim Boeheim's 35-year tenure at Syracuse -- In 1999-00, the Orangemen began the season 19-0. SU is currently ranked fifth on the all-time Division I wins list.
On Saturday afternoon, The Orange (4-0 Big East) host the AP polls No. 25-ranked Cincinnati Bearcats (16-1, 3-1) at the Carrier Dome and will try and push their overall record to 18-0.
Fifth-year head coach and Cincinnati alum, Mick Cronin, leads the Bearcats into the Dome. Cronin is 1-3 against the Orange during his tenure at Cincy. The last time the Bearcats beat the Orange was back in January of 2008. Syracuse is on a two-game winning streak against Cincinnati, which is 2-5 all-time against SU.
Earlier in the season, Cincinnati jumped out to the programs second-best start at 15-0. The hot start allowed the Bearcats to earn a No. 24 ranking in the AP poll and a No. 25 ranking in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll. Last Sunday, Jan. 9, Cincy lost on the road to the No. 7 Villanova Wildcats, 76-61. Cincinnati rebounded with a win against the South Florida Bulls, 74-66, on Wednesday.
Currently, junior guard Dion Dixon leads Cincinnati in scoring and is on a career-best pace from behind the 3-point arc. Dixon isn't a highlight-type guard but he's consistent. In December, Dixon netted a collegiate-best 22 points in a road win, 64-48, against the Miami (Ohio) RedHawks.
|2010 - Dion Dixon||17||26.9||4.2||9.7||43.0||1.1||3.6||31.1||3.1||4.1||74.3||1.2||2.1||3.4||1.8||1.0||0.9||0.1||1.1||12.5|
Junior forward Yancy Gates leads the Beacats in rebounding and is second in scoring. Against the Xavier Musketeers, Jan. 6, the 6-foot-9, 265-pound forward collected a team-best 22 points and 12 rebounds.
|2010 - Yancy Gates||17||27.8||5.1||10.2||50.3||0.1||0.4||14.3||1.6||3.1||52.8||2.5||4.4||6.9||1.4||1.6||0.9||1.5||2.0||11.9|
Freshman guard and Big East Rookie Of The Week, Sean Kilpatrick, has come on strong as of late. The 6-4, redshirt freshman came off the bench Wednesday and netted a game-best 18 points against USF. Kilpatrick shot 4-for-5 from 3-point land. On the season, he's shooting .415 percent from behind the 3-point arc.
The key to beating Cincinnati -- and this is not new news to Syracuse fans -- is keeping the Bearcats 3-point shooting at bay. Currently, Ciny is ranked fifth in the conference in 3-point attempts (330) and ninth in percentage (.342). If the Bearcats can get hot then SU could be in trouble.
Another thing to look for is turnovers because the Bearcats do not turn the ball over. Currently, Cincinnati is commits just 10.9 turnovers-per game, which is the lowest average in the league.