Syracuse plays it's first Big East road game of the year tonight against a rebuilding, but dangerous Cincinnati program. The question for Syracuse fans is two fold - which Cincinnati team will show up tonight - the one that beat Louisville on the road, or the one that lost to UAB by 19 - and how will a young Syracuse team handle their first road game without second leading scorer Eric Devendorf?
People who get paid to bring you this information have a full preview up here.
For those of you that prefer a more idiotic preview (and a snazzy picture of an underrated pastry) you've come to the right place.
Things that should make you feel good about tonight:
* On paper, Syracuse is a better team.
* Syracuse has rebounded from the loss of Devendorf and increased the defensive effort and intensity.
* They can score on anybody - and have, they lead the league in scoring.
* Donte Greene and Jonny Flynn should make everyone feel good.
*Cincinnati is 6-8 this year (more on that in a minute).
* Syracuse is too young and dumb to realize that road games are supposed to be a challenge.
* Cincy struggles to score, averaging only 64.5 points per game.
* They have size, but don't have an answer for Arinze or Paul Harris.
Things that should make you worry
* Cincy has been tested. They've played a tough schedule so far, going head to head with Memphis, Xavier, NC State, and while they lost all those contests, they played those teams tough.
* They beat Louisville. I know Louisville is a mess this year (not a good year for Cardinal fans) but it's still a good win.
* Deonta Vaughan can play - and doesn't it always seem like a guard from an opposing team has a career night against Syracuse? If it happens tonight, Vaughan is the guy that will do it.
* Syracuse is too young and dumb to take this team seriously, even if they insist they aren't looking past them. Sometimes experience is the best teacher.
* An extremely young team with a shallow bench on the road is always working with a very small margin for error, tonight is no different.
* Rick Jackson and the Belgian Waffle have struggled of late.
* Syracuse hasn't exactly been clutch from the free throw line.
Syracuse has too much talent for the Bearcats. Expect a close game with Cincinnati fighting to control tempo. Ultimately the offensive fire power of Greene and Flynn and the rebounding prowess of Harris and Arinze make the difference, and Syracuse wins 73 - 64......and Patrick Shadle celebrates by eating a bearclaw (sorry, couldn't resist).