Ever improving Jackson becomes force inside

Bilal Dixon didn’t stand a chance.

Providence’s starting center stands 6-foot-8 and weighs in at around 228 pounds. Against most teams, Dixon holds his own ground in the low post. Playing Connecticut, the freshman’s 11 points and 12 rebounds helped pace an 81-66 over the rough and physical Connecticut Huskies on January 27.

But that was not the case when Dixon played against Syracuse’s Rick Jackson on Febraury 2. That night, Dixon was 0-for-4 from the field, did not score, and contributed just four rebounds in 22 minutes.

As for his counterpart? All Jackson did was score a career high 28 points and grab nine rebounds as Syracuse crushed the Friars, 99-85. It has been another solid season season for Jackson, who averaging a career high 10 points and nearly seven rebounds in 25 minutes per game.

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2010 Syracuse basketball regular season recap: Unranked to No. 1

Unranked to number one.

Those four words accurately capture what was a special season for Syracuse basketball. Syracuse was mostly written off by coaches and experts alike at the beginning of the season with the loss of four key contributors in the offseason. Syracuse began the season at No. 25 in the coaches poll and unranked in the ESPN/USA Today poll.

After all, it was hard to blame people from the college basketball world. Syracuse rode to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2004 last year, but the losses of Paul Harris, Eric Devendorf and Jonny Flynn figured to cripple what was formally a potent offense. Syracuse was picked to finish sixth in the Big East and other than Arinze Onuaku (who received a preseason Big East Honorable Mention) not a single Orange player received any recognition.

In spite of all of that, the Orange regrouped.

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