CINCINNATI BEARCATS (16-3)
at SYRACUSE ORANGE (17-1)
Carrier Dome – Syracuse, NY
Tip-off: Monday, 3:30 p.m. ET
Line: Syracuse -9, Total: 130
Fresh of a dethroning of last week’s No. 1 Louisville, Syracuse returns home for more Big East action on Monday afternoon, this time against surging Cincinnati.
The Bearcats are coming off an upset of their own, taking down No. 25 Marquette for their third straight victory. And while Jim Boeheim’s Orange can win games by dominating the glass (42.8 RPG, 4th in nation), Cincinnati is one of the few teams that can muscle up with them with 42.8 RPG (3rd in D-I). Syracuse has won seven straight (4-2 ATS), but will continue to play without second-leading scorer, F James Southerland (13.6 PPG, 5.2 RPG), who is out due to academic ineligibility. However, the Bearcats also have a major injury concern, as their second leading scorer, PG Cashmere Wright (15.1 PPG, 3.7 APG) missed Saturday's game with a sprained knee. His playing status for Monday afternoon is uncertain.
Can Syracuse win comfortably over a red-hot Cincinnati team on Monday? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The StatFox experts went 4-2 ATS on Sunday and have a collective 52.0% ATS mark (248-229-8) in college basketball Best Bets for the season, led by StatFox Gary, who sits at 57.1% ATS (56-42) for the season, while StatFox Dave is 10-6 ATS (63%) in the past five days and 55% ATS (92-76-3) on the year. StatFox Brian is 9-6 ATS (60%) since Jan. 12.
Without Wright, SG Sean Kilpatrick (18.3 PPG, 5.4 RPG) stepped up against Marquette with a 36-point performance, making 11-of-23 FG (5-of-14 threes) and 9-of-10 FT. He has scored in double-figures in 18 of 19 games this season, and also had 18 points (6-of-9 threes), five assists and five steals in last year's Big East Tournament Semifinal upset win over then-No. 2 Syracuse. G JaQuon Parker (10.9 PPG, 4.7 RPG) joins him in the backcourt and can help shooting from deep over the Orange's signature 2-3 zone with a 40% clip from 3-point range this season. Junior F Titus Rubles (6.9 PPG, 6.1 RPG) is the team’s top rebounder and earned a double-double on Staurday with 12 points and 10 boards. He struggles from the field, though, making a paltry 33.6% FG, including 4-of-23 FG (17%) in his past four games combined. Another guy to watch out for could be 6-foot-10 C Cheikh Mbodj (4.9 PPG, 4.9 RPG) who is mostly a presence on the defensive end with 2.5 BPG.
In the absence of Southerland, SG Brandon Triche (team-high 14.6 PPG; 3.5 APG) stepped up for the Orange on Saturday with a 23-point outburst on 9-of-13 FG and 5-of-7 threes. He also grabbed six boards. Six-foot-8 SF C.J. Fair (13.6 PPG, 7.1 RPG) has also been playing well of late with 18.3 PPG (52% FG, 20-of-22 FT) and 8.0 RPG in his past three contests. The true stud for this team, though, is 6-foot-6 PG Michael Carter-Williams (12.1 PPG, 9.3 APG, 4.8 RPG), who scored nine of the team's final 11 points in the upset at Louisville, finishing with 16 points, seven assists and four steals. He easily leads the nation in assists per game by full 1.0 APG, and is also a nasty defender, placing 4th among all D-I players with 3.2 SPG. Although Carter-Williams doesn't shoot very well (36.5% FG and 27% threes), he runs the offense smoothly (2.42 Ast/TO ratio) and is a big reason why Syracuse ranks 19th in the nation in assists (16.2 APG).