Syracuse, fresh off its first loss of the season, will finish off its mini two-game road trip in Cincinnati.
NO GATES? NO PROBLEM: Following the aftermath of an ugly on-the-court brawl between Cincinnati and Xavier that resulted in three Bearcat players getting suspended for six games each, coach Mick Cronin predicted his team would go undefeated during that stretch. It seemed like just that at the time—a stretch. But that is exactly what Cincinnati did, reeling off six wins, culminating in a 66-63 win over then-No. 22 Pittsburgh. The Bearcats were able to do without their leader Yancy Gates as well as Cheikh Mbodj and Octavius Ellis. Now that Gates has returned, the Bearcats find themselves tied for third place, just a game and a half out of first place in the schizophrenic Big East.
SCOUTING THE BEARCATS: Without Fab Melo, look for Gates to have a field day against Syracuse. The 6-foot-9, 260 pound forward is averaging 12.2 points and 9.4 rebounds this season. Sophomore Sean Kilpatrick has made the leap to stardom in his sophomore season, and leads the team with 16.0 points per game.
IN CINCINNATI’S LAST GAME: Cincinnati nearly had an impressive road win in West Virginia on Saturday, but Gary Browne hit a 3-pointer to send the game to overtime and hit a key layup in the extra frame as the Mountaineers held on for a 77-74 win. Cashmere Wright led Cincinnati with 17 points.
HISTORICALLY SPEAKING: The last time these two teams met, Rick Jackson’s 15 points and 11 rebounds led SU past the Bearcats 67-52. All time, Syracuse is 6-2 against Cincinnati.
GAME INFORMATION: Mon., Jan 23. 7:00 p.m. ESPN. Cincinnati, OH.