The Layup Line: Southern Methodist, Again

Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

A hostile road environment is on the horizon as the Bearcats travel 900+ miles just hours after an exhausting win against UCONN.

How anyone can doubt this Bearcat sqaud is beyond me. Seriously. You've gotta be some kind of idiot to continually pick against the Bearcats. Well - if the shoe fits...

Not again.

Cincinnati should be favored in all but 1 game (@UCONN) the rest of the regular season, right? And, even then, I wouldn't be shocked if the Bearcats were favored in West Hartford.

Surely, they won't go undefeated in AAC play, though. Right?

I don't know how this season will finish up, but I do know I'm having the most fun I've ever had while following a team. These Bearcats are quickly climbing the ladder of my all-time favorite teams. So... about that second meeting with the Mustangs (18-5).

  • Game: Saturday, February 8, 2014; 7:30pm EST
  • Location: Moody Coliseum; Dallas, TX
  • TV/Radio: ESPNU; 700 WLW

Most of what I mentioned in the first preview still holds true: the Mustangs are led in scoring by Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy - and they're still highly ranked in several key areas. In fact, as of last week, SMU was 3rd in the country in defensive field goal percentage. For comparison, the Bearcats are 17th. Not bad - but not 3rd.

The 'Stangs are still undefeated at home. And apparently they're getting cocky. Twitter reports say SMU fans were chanting "We want Cinci" at the conclusion of their blow-out win over Temple. Seems smart...

And it's Cincy. The only words that end in "i" are the names of those crazy party girls you knew in high school - like Toni or Bobbi or something like that.

Anyway, I'm worried about the short turn around. Yes, SMU played last night as well, but they don't have to travel almost a thousand miles before tomorrow's game. And they played Temple - not UConn. Thanks a lot, AAC schedule makers.

What the 'Cats have to do to win:

  • Hold their own in the paint. Seems vague, eh? Well SMU has continually dominated opponents in the paint. Kennedy will get his, but we'll need Lawrence and Big Dave to effectively defend and rebound when they're on the floor. That's a big ask given the environment, in my humble opinion.
  • Shoot better than 30% from deep. If this turns into the Bearcats heaving up off-balance 3-pointers, I don't like their chances. If they can knock down a few timely three's, though, they can escape with a win.
  • Contain Moore. The Bearcats are good at containing their opponent's leading scorer. In the last 3 games, they held Russ Smith, Victor Rudd, and Shabazz Napier all under their season average in points. Do the same to Moore (14.1 in AAC play), and I like their chances.
My prediction: This one's gonna be ugly. But the Bearcats lead the country in winning ugly (or something like that). This one has all the makings to end the Bearcats winning streak: on the road and playing an incredible defense. But, as I mentioned at the outset, you can't pick this Cincinnati team to lose. So I won't; call it the kiss of death, if you will. Bearcats win 59-57.

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