Know Your Opponent- Syracuse

Cincinnati (18-10, 8-7 in the Big East) travels to face a tough road test Sunday in the Orange of Syracuse (20-8, 8-7 in the Big East). This is just the sixth meeting all-time between the two teams, so here's everything you need to know about the Syracuse Orange.

Head coach Jim Boeheim had his Orangemen ranked as high as No. 8 in the national polls this season before a recent downwards spiral has them unranked. A loss at then-No. 12 Georgetown on Jan. 14 started a skid that has seen the Orange lose seven of their last 11 games.

Syracuse got back on track Tuesday night with an 87-58 drubbing of the Red Storm at St. John's. The win gave coach Boeheim 20 wins in a season for the record 31st time.

Despite their recent struggles, the Orange are a team that can score the basketball at will, averaging 80 points per game, which ranks 14th nationally. Leading the Syracuse charge is sophomore guard Jonny Flynn, who averages a team-high 17.4 points and 6.2 assists per game while playing 36 minutes each contest. Behind Flynn the Orange rank 10th nationally in assists per game.

Flynn's partner in the backcourt, junior guard Eric Devendorf, is close behind in terms of scoring averaging 15.9 points per game. Paul Harris, a junior forward, contributes 12.7 points and a team-best eight rebounds per game.

Still the scoring does not stop there. Junior forward/center Arinze Onuaku adds 12.7 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. Fellow junior Andy Rautins, a guard, is the fifth and final Orangeman to average double figures in scoring with 10.2 points per game.

Though they score a lot, the Orange have also made a habit of giving up a plethora of points this season. They rank 276th nationally in scoring defense, allowing 71.9 points per game.

There bright spots on the Syracuse defense. The Bearcats shouldn't expect many foul calls going their way Sunday, as the Orange rank seventh nationally with just 15 personal fouls per game. With 5.2 blocks per game, Syracuse ranks 22nd nationally, and for the second straight game Deonta Vaughn, Alvin Mitchell, and the rest of the UC sharpshooters will face a team strong defensively against the three-point shot. The Orange rank 22nd in the country in three-point field goal percentage defense, allowing their opponents to hit on just 30.1 percent of their attempts.

Sunday's battle in the Carrier Dome is an important one for both teams involved. The Orange and Bearcats are both tied with West Virginia for seventh in the Big East. A first round bye in the conference tournament is on the line, and Cincinnati could use a big road win to add to their NCAA tournament resume. Tip off Sunday is set for 2 p.m.


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