Both teams possess rosters of athletic ability and shooters. Look for this game to be very physical and low scoring. Syracuse will try to play in the half court with their zone defense and Cincinnati will try to push the tempo on the Orangemen and take advantage of a Syracuse loss this past weekend and home court advantage to try to steal one at home.
Syracuse is led by a bunch of athletic players at multiple positions. On the defensive end they will confuse team with their matchup 2-3 zone that can extend out in the 3-2. They rely heavily on isolation basketball and penetration kicks from their wing players. They have a lot of talented wing players led by Kris Joseph (13.6PTS 32 3-POINTERS) and their tough hard nosed combo guard Dion Waiters(13.0 PTS 2.4 ST and 22 3 POINTERS) their leadership comes from point guard Scoop Jardine (8.3 PTS 4.9 ASSISTS). Scoop isn’t a big factor with his scoring but he organizes the offense and keeps everything moving smoothly. I think he will be the key for the Orangemen this evening with his ability to get everyone in position against the Bearcat defense. A very underrated player for them is shot maker James Southerland (7.9 PTS 25 3-POINTERS).
Their big men without Melo will be less of a factor tan they already are. They have a bunch of long armed athletic bigs that can finish and rebound on the offensive end. They aren’t very skilled but have very good size and clean up a lot of the misses form their wing players. They do most of their damage in the back of the zone clogging up the middle for opponents and their drives. Without Melo look for CJ Fair (8.5 PTS 5.1 REB) and Baye Moussa Keita(2.9 PTS 2.9 REB) to expand their roles as well as reserve big man Rakeem Christmas(3.4 PTS 3.0 REB). They need to keep Gates off of the boards and limit their second chance points.
Here is a look at Syracuse’s Offense:
Cincinatti is a guard oriented team that features three guards that are very similar. Led by wing player Sean Kilpatrick (16.0 PTS 4.7 REB 56 3-POINTERS). Sean is a tough wing player at 6-4 that can make shots and space the floor as well as drive on long closeouts. He gives Cincinnati that hard nosed wing player that can make big shots. Dion Dixon (13.9 PTS 29 3-POINTERS) is another tough wing that can come off screens and score as well as spot up on the wing and go to work. Not a great ball handler , but again adds to their toughness of their backcourt that will give Syracuse issues. To round out their backcourt Coach Cronin has combo guard Cashmere Wright (10.8 Points 34 3-POINTERS) who can turn the corner and score as well as spot up behind the arc , and Jaquon Parker (9.5 PTS 17 3-POINTERS).
The Bearcats are not very deep up front, but what they do have is one of the toughest frontcourt players in the country in Yancy Gates (12.2 PTS 9.4 REB), Yancy is a hard nosed power forward that can live in the paint and rebound as well as give them some interior scoring. He’s not the most skilled big on the planet but he will compete and he’ll rebound. He will definitely be a factor for The Bearcats tonight. Another big man that will play significant minutes is JUSTIN JACKSON (5.2 PTS 4.7 REB). Justin is a very active big man that runs the floor and is an energy guy at 6-8 he’ll run the floor and try to protect the paint.
Here is a look at Cincinnati’s Offense:
HOW CAN CONCINNATI BEAT SYRACUSE
This is no simple feat for any team. First off Cincinnati cant settle for bad shots against the Syracuse zone. As anyone who watched the game on Saturday can tell you is that you have to attack the zone with penetrating passes and drives. They cant just pass the ball around the perimeter and settle for deep shots. THey have to flash someone to the high post and then have two players at both short corners to come in behind the zone. Syracuse has done a poor job with rotating their bigs and weak side wings to cover those spots.
I would even run some screen and roll and attack the paint against this team. You cant beat Syracuse with three point shots. You have to penetrate the zone and make plays off of that. Even high low looks by flashing someone into the high post and then ducking in Gates to score in the paint or even get fouled will be something that will work vs Syracuse. They are very effective at defending teams that like to dribble around and go nowhere against their zone. They have long armed wings that can shrink the floor and just sit in the zone and wait out the shotclock. You have to have a lot of direct drives and penetration against this team. If they shoot a lot of long jumpers look for Syracuse to get out and run.
On defense they have to contain the Syracuse guards, I know easier said than done. Their wings have the tendency to ball stop (dribble and go no where with it or hold the ball). If Cincinnati can force them to stay on the perimeter and take tough shots all night this will be a ball game. They need to control the tempo of this game and don’t allow Syracuse wings to get in the paint. Defend the three point shot the best that they can and hope for the best.
Have to limit second chance points.
I predict Cincinnati to win this game tonight. I think with their shot makers and toughness at the perimeter position that they can stay with Syracuse most of the game. Playing at home and with as many wing players and good dyards that they have can close out the game. They are weak at point guard as far as a leader and decision maker, but they can make shots and play hard defensively. I think losing Melo allows the pain to be a little bit more wide open.
Look for this to be a game in the 60’s and Cincinnati to win by 5 at home.