Cincinnati vs Syracuse Preview


Today at 3:30 pm, that's right 3:30 pm, on ESPN, the Cincinnati Bearcats travel to Syracuse to take on the Big East leading Syracuse Orange. Both teams are coming off dramatic wins on Saturday. Syracuse beat Louisville. Cincinnati beat Marquette. 2 games separate the teams in the standings. It's a giant test for this Cincinnati team.

The biggest question on tips of every tongue involves Cashmere Wright. Will he play? We don't know. We probably won't know until just before game time. I am leaning towards no. The odd start time is what is holding me back from a yes here. I'll be very happy if he plays. With the big break looming after this, it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if he didn't play. But, this is a huge game. One of the last times Cash will play a top 5 team on the road. I think he'll try to play. 

Seriously, 3:30 tip time. Do not forget. 

All stats are CONFERENCE ONLY. 

Record: 16-3, 4-2

RPI (from Real Time RPI): 30

Road/Neutral: 7-0

Vs Syracuse : 3-7

At Syracuse: 1-3

Last Meeting: Cincinnati 71-68, March 9, 2012

Mick Cronin Win Total; 198


  • Sean Kilpatrick 34.2
  • JaQuon Parker 31.7
  • Cashmere Wright 30.6
  • Titus Rubles 24.2
  • Cheikh Mbodj 19.8


  • Cashmere Wright 17.8
  • Sean Kilpatrick 17
  • JaQuon Parker 9
  • Titus Rubles 7
  • Cheikh Mbodj 4.5

Field Goal %

  • David Nyarsuk 58.3
  • Cashmere Wright 49.2
  • Jermaine Sanders 41.7
  • Shaq Thomas 41.7
  • Justin Jackson 41.7

Free Throw % (Min 5 attempts)

  • Cashmere Wright 83.3
  • Ge'Lawn Guyn 83.3
  • Sean Kilpatrick 76.3
  • Titus Rubles 67.7
  • Justin Jackson 67

3 Pointers Made (3 Point %)

  • Sean Kilpatrick 13 (31.7%)
  • Cashmere Wright 11 (36.7%)
  • JaQuon Parker 5 (29.4%)
  • Jermaine Sanders 5 (35.7%)
  • Titus Rubles 3 (21.4%)


  • Titus Rubles 6.3
  • JaQuon Parker 4.8
  • Cheikh Mbodj 4.2
  • Sean Kilpatrick 4
  • Justin Jackson 3.8


  • Cashmere Wright 20
  • Titus Rubles 13
  • JaQuon Parker 10
  • Sean Kilpatrick 7
  • Jermaine Sanders 5


  • JaQuon Parker 16
  • Titus Rubles 11
  • Sean Kilpatrick 10
  • Cashmere Wright 7
  • Jermaine Sanders 6


  • Cashmere Wright 7
  • JaQuon Parker / Jermaine Sanders / Titus Rubles 3


  • Cheikh Mbodj 15
  • David Nyarsuk 8
  • Justin Jackson 5
  • Sean Kilpatrick 4
  • Titus Rubles 3

Record: 17-1, 5-0

Home: 12-0

RPI: 11

Rank: 6/6


  • Michael Carter-Williams 37.8
  • CJ Fair 37.8
  • Brandon Triche 34.6
  • Rakeem Christmas 26.2
  • Jerami Grant 17.6


  • Brandon Triche 16.4
  • CJ Fair 16
  • Michael Carter-Williams 11.8
  • Jerami Grant 5.6
  • Rakeem Christmas 5.4

Field Goal %

  • Rakeem Christmas 57.1
  • Brandon Triche 50.9
  • Jerami Grant 47.6
  • CJ Fair 44.8
  • DaJuan Coleman 41.7

Free Throw %

  • Brandon Triche 88.2
  • CJ Fair 84.4
  • Michael Carter-Williams 70
  • Jerami Grant 66.7
  • No one else qualifies

3 Pointers Made (3 Point %)

  • Brandon Triche 11 (44%)
  • Michael Carter-Williams 7 (30.4%
  • Trevor Cooney 3 (25%)
  • CJ Fair 1 (20%)


  • CJ Fair 7.6
  • Rakeem Christmas 5.2
  • Michael Carter-Williams 4.6
  • Brandon Triche 4
  • Jerami Grant 3.2


  • Michael Carter-Williams 35
  • Brandon Triche 19
  • CJ Fair 5
  • Jerami Grant 2
  • Rakeem Christmas 1


  • Michael Carter-Williams 17
  • Brandon Triche 12
  • CJ Fair 7
  • Rakeem Christmas 5
  • Jerami Grant / Trevor Cooney / Baye Keita 2


  • Michael Carter-Williams 17
  • Brandon Triche 8
  • Rakeem Christmas 3
  • Trevor Cooney / Baye Keita 2


  • CJ Fair 13
  • Rakeem Christmas 8
  • Jerami Grant 4
  • Michael Carter-Williams 3
  • Baye Keita 3


Paw Points

Syracuse is without James Southerland, who is suspended because of academics. That's part of the reason there is such a drop off with some of the stats. 

Cincinnati hasn't beaten a top 5 team on the road since 1963. They've lost 20 games in a row to  a top 5 team on the road. Syracuse should be top 5 when the rankings come out. I'm writing this on Sunday night.

Cincinnati has never won 4 straight Big East games.  

Sean Kilpatrick needs 5 points to pass LaZelle Durden for 27th all time in scoring. 

Syracuse has played a little slower than UC in conference play if you can believe that. You should expect the type of pace we normally see. 

The Orange average more than 3 points a game than the Bearcats despite playing slower. That's because they are highly efficient. They average 1.1 points per possession. That's the second best offense in the league behind Notre Dame. The Bearcats are at 1.03, which is ok. 

Syracuse is one of the best defensive teams in the country. They rank 3rd on Ken Pom. They are second in the Big East in that and in points per possession behind Louisville. The Orange give up 0.92 ppp. UC has struggled in conference play at 0.98. The Bearcats rank 10th in Ken Pom defensively. Getting a basket will not be easy tomorrow. 

The Orange are shooting 42.4% from the field. They attempt nearly 18 three pointers a game, hitting just 30%. Syracuse gets the line at an ok rate, but when they get there, they make them. They are 3rd in the league making 77.9%. 

Cincinnati is shooting 40.9% from the field. They attempt nearly 21 threes a game, making 31.5%. Cincinnati leads the Big East in 3s made and 3s attempted. The Cats have the 4th highest free throw rate in the league at 47.6. That means for every 100 field goal attempts, they are shooting 47.6 free throws. Cincinnati is 10th in the league making 67.8%. 

3 pointers are the key to this game. If Cincinnati is content passing around the zone and shooting 3s, it could be a long day. Remember the game a couple years ago? UC was trailing, hit a bunch of 3s in a row, then kept shooting and lost by a lot. That has the potential of happening tomorrow. With or without Cash. Gotta get inside. 

Syracuse is a monster offensive rebounding team. They are pulling in 41.7% of their misses, by far the best in the league. Cincinnati is pulling in 69% of the defensive rebounds, 5th in the league. 

UC is the 6th best offensive rebounding team at 34.5%. Syracuse is 11th in the conference at 66.5% on the defensive glass. UC has to work that advantage. It's a big key for them. 

Michael Carter-Williams leads the nation in assists at 9.3 a game. 

Syracuse assists on 55% of their field goals. Carter-Williams is assisting on 35.9% of possessions in conference play. 

The Orange don't really turn it over. They turn it over on 17.4% of possessions. Cincinnati turns opponents over on just 16.4% of possessions, 3rd lowest in the league. 

Cuse forces turnovers on 23.4% of possessions. That is a very high number. Having Cash would be HUGE. Syracuse gets steals on 13.6% of possessions, second highest in the league. 

Syracuse and Cincinnati rank 1-2 in block percentage. Syracuse blocks shots on 12.4% of possessions, Cincinnati 11.9%. 

This is the toughest road game of the season by far. The Carrier Dome is very hard place to win. Cincinnati has not had a lot of success there. How this team handles the atmosphere, how they handle the weird start time, how they handle the pressure will be very interesting. The bench has to produce. Shaq Thomas, Guyn, they can't be quiet. 

Prediction: Sean Kilpatrick attempts 25 field goal attempts if Cash does not play.

Cincinnati has played better on the road than they have at home. They haven't faced a team this good, though. There aren't a lot of teams this good to begin with, but this is a tough challenge. I think they can pull out a win if they can keep getting to the foul line. Make that the great equalizer. Easy points are big in a game like this. 

I believe that we can win. Go Bearcats. Beat Syracuse. 


About Scott

I write Bearcats Blog and also on the Student Section.

Cincinnati vs Syracuse Preview

There was the whole long normal Know Your Opponent piece about Syracuse that was almost done. But like a jerk, I somehow clicked on one of my bookmarks and lost the whole thing. Boring story yes, but that's the reason that this is a truncated preview instead of the whole ball of wax that you all know and love. You can know it and hate it, but that's just mean of you. Grow up. 

Game Time: Noon

Channel: Big East Network. That means if you've been getting crappy Big East games featuring Temple the past few weeks, you'll be getting this game. If not, you have to go on the internet. 

Records: Cincinnati 5-2, 1-1. Syracuse 4-4, 3-1

Spread: Cincinnati -5

UC vs Syracuse Series: UC leads 7-5

What Happened Last Year: Cincinnati won 30-13 on November 26

What's Butch Jones' Record Against SU?: 1-1

What Color Uniforms Will UC Wear: Red

The Same Red Uniforms You Don't Like? Yes. Thanks for remembering that. 

Cincinnati Stats


Munchie Legaux 109-208, 1,592 yards, 13 TDs-8 INTs


  1. George Winn 123-732-4 TDs
  2. Munchie Legaux 49-296-4 TDs
  3. Ralph David Abernathy IV 47-284-3 TDs


  1. Kenbrell Thompkins 21-322-1 TD
  2. Travis Kelce 15-308-2 TDs
  3. Damon Julian 18-295-4 TDs
  4. Ralph David Abernathy 14-214-3 TDs
  5. Anthony McClung 15-187-1 TD

Offensive Line (starting with left tackle)

  1. Eric Lefeld
  2. Austen Bujnoch
  3. Dan Sprague
  4. Sam Longo
  5. Parker Ehinger


  1. Greg Blair 73
  2. Maalik Bomar 52
  3. Arryn Chenault 36
  4. Dan Giordano 26
  5. Cameron Cheatham 24

Tackles for loss (Sacks)

  1. Greg Blair 4.5 (1.5)
  2. Camaron Beard 4
  3. Dan Giordano 3.5 (2.5)
  4. John Williams 3.5 (2.5)
  5. Jordan Stepp/Cameron Cheatham 2.5 (1), Maalik Bomar 2.5


  1. Greg Blair 2
  2. Arryn Chenault 2
  3. Cameron Cheatham 2
  4. Deven Drane 1
  5. Maalik Bomar 1


Tony Miliano 10-14 on field goals, 29-30 extra points. Long 47. Missed – 41, 49, 47, 46


Pat O'Donnell  42.1 yard average. 12 of 27 inside the 20. 

Syracuse Stats


Ryan Nassib 203-310, 2,487 yards, 17 TDs-8 INTs


  1. Jerome Smith 125-615
  2. Prince-Tyson Gulley 76-322-3 TDs
  3. Ashton Broyld 31-154-1 TD 


  1. Marcus Sales 46-670-7 TDs
  2. Jarrod West 34-483-2 TDs
  3. Alec Lemon 37-468-2 TDs
  4. Beckett Wales 22-228-1 TD
  5. Prince-Tyson Gulley 23-184-1 TD

Offensive Line (Starting with left tackle)

  1. Justin Pugh
  2. Zach Chibane
  3. Macky MacPherson
  4. Rob Trudo
  5. Sean Hickey


  1. Shamarko Thomas 52
  2. Siriki Diabate 51
  3. Marquis Spruill 45
  4. Dyshawn Davis 40
  5. Ri'Shard Anderson 34

Tackles for Loss (Sacks)

  1. Brandon Shrape 11 (5.5)
  2. Dyshawn Davis 9
  3. Marquis Spruill 5.5 (1)
  4. Markus Pierce-Brewster 5 (1)
  5. Deon Goggins 5 (1)
  6. Siriki Diabate 5


  1. Shamarko Thomas 2
  2. Jeremi Wilkes 1
  3. Brandon Reddish 1


Ross Krautman 9-15. Long – 47. Missed – 44, 45, 38, 50, 32, 22


Jonathan Fisher – 39.8 average. 11 of 32 inside the 20. 

Paw Points

A week after getting torched against Teddy Bridgewater and the Louisville receivers, the Bearcat secondary faces the top passing offense in the league. Marcus Sales is the second leading receiver in the conference in terms of yards, with West and Lemon 4th and 5th. Sales leads the Big East with 7 receiving TDs. 

Syracuse has the best passing offense in the league. Cincinnati has the worst passing defense. 

Pressure is going to have to be brought against the Orange. When Cincinnati was bothering Bridgewater, it was during the time of the game they constantly got in his face. When Louisville started picking up the pressure, Cincinnati's secondary was picked apart. Ryan Nassib has the talent to pick the defense to shreads. He definitely has the targets to get the ball downfield on the secondary. It's very important to disrupt things. 

Ryan Nassib's lowest completion percentage in a game this season was 59.5%. Taking out Fordham and Delaware State because they are FCS teams, Munchie's highest is 56.5%. Munchie's career high is 59%. That was set against Syracuse last year. Yes, his career high against a division 1 team is lower than Nassib's lowest completion percentage this year. 

Butch Jones said earlier this week that Munchie was going to run the ball more. I don't know why it took 7 weeks into the season to come to this conclusion. It's something fans have been calling for the past 3 weeks going back to Fordham. I think if he ran more, that would help open up the offense a bit. That way people bite on the play fakes and maybe he can have more success down the field. 

Jones also said that RDA IV was going to get more carries. I would argue that he doesn't need more carries, he needs more receptions. Let's face it, the receivers have been a disappointment this year. Blame Munchie some, but they haven't made plays when they have caught the football. UC has 2 100 yard receiving games this season. Marcus Sales has 5. RDA is probably one of the top 3 receivers. Get him the ball in space and let him work his magic. I would run the game type of pass plays UC ran with Pead last year for RDA. Then you let Winn run the ball. That could work. 

Syracuse has the best kick coverage in the Big East. Ralph David Abernathy IV has the second best kick return average in the league. Something has got to give. 

Jerome Smith has had 100 yard rushing games the last 2 weeks. You can see that he doesn't have a ton of yards, he split carries with PTG early on, but he's been very good lately. It doesn't stand out by looking at the numbers, but when you go inside the numbers he's a threat. 

Syracuse came back from a 23-3 halftime deficit last week. It was the largest comeback in SU history.

Nassib has thrown 8 INTs. He's thrown 2 in each of the last 3 Syracuse losses. He threw 1 against Northwestern. 

Nassib has thrown 6 TDs to 0 INTs the last 2 weeks. 

Please show up to the game. The guys deserve it. If there are under 30,000 at the game tomorrow, I am going to be pissed. 

It's one thing to look at the schedule and see a 4-4 Syracuse team and just assume that this will be a walk. The Orange have lost to Northwestern very late. They have 2 tough losses against USC and Rutgers. They completely blew the Minnesota game, there is no excuse for that loss. But they are a very tough opponent. If the Bearcats are going to have a shot at coming back and winning the Big East, it starts with defending the home turf. It starts with knocking off one of the 1 loss teams in the league.  This game could very well go down to the last few minutes. I expect a Cincinnati victory, but I expect it to be within the spread. 

Cincinnati 31 Syracuse 27



About Scott

I write Bearcats Blog and also on the Student Section.