The Bearcats tip off against West Virginia in roughly 3 hours on ESPNU. Here are some links to get up to speed on this match up. The Gamethread will be up at 2 and as always Go Bearcats
Led by Jones, West Virginia is solid offensively, averaging 73.3 points and shooting 46.7 percent from the field, which ranks fourth in the conference. The Mountaineers are second in rebounding margin at plus-6.3 per game, which could be a problem for a UC team that has struggled on the boards. The Bearcats, who have forced 17.9 turnovers per game, will look to pressure the Mountaineers, who turn the ball over an average of 14.2 times.
Cincinnati at West Virginia (ESPNU, 3 p.m. ET): UC coach Mick Cronin said the worst thing in coaching is having to play a Bob Huggins-coached team after a loss. He was praying for a win by West Virginia against Marshall. The Mountaineers delivered. The Bearcats are in the midst of a brutal four-game trek, but are off to a great start with a win at Connecticut. The Bearcats will have to defend Kevin Jones exceptionally well, and that means Yancy Gates has to work the weakside boards. The Bearcats host Syracuse on Monday. Regardless of what happens here, it shouldn’t affect the Bearcats’ chances of upsetting SU.
Jason King: I'll be interested to see how Cincinnati fares at West Virginia. The notion that the Bearcats could be the Big East's second-best team seemed far-fetched entering the season, and I figured they'd fall into a rut in the aftermath of their Dec. 10 brawl with Xavier. Instead, Mick Cronin's squad has improved dramatically since that time. Cincinnati is 10-1 since the fight and is second in the Big East with a 5-1 record. Anyone who wasn't sold on the Bearcats had to have changed their minds following Thursday's 70-67 victory at Connecticut. Winning at West Virginia will be just as difficult -- but certainly not impossible for a team that's on a major roll.
The second thing in our favor is that the Bearcats know that after they play WVU they'll be facing off at home Tuesday night against undefeated Syracuse. It is difficult to imagine that their kids (who are playing out of their skulls and unexpectedly slaying the giants) aren’t struggling to stay focused on the task at hand. Especially with prime time, Tuesday night ESPN glory on the horizon.
Of all the potential reasons for UC to play badly today the Cuse one holds little to no water. The reason the Bearcats are playing so fantastically is that the focus has been unwavering, particularly on the road. I would be stunned to see the Bearcats overlook the Mountaineers who are already a great team.
Sat. 3:00 pm: Cincinnati @ West Virginia: Cincinnati has done two things this season: they've established themselves as the second best team in the Big East and they appear to have staked a claim on being the best road team in the country. They have won their past seven road games in Big East play, including their last two, which consists win at Georgetown and at UConn. It doesn't get any easier for the Bearcats on Saturday as they head to Morgantown to take on the Mountaineers.