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The Layup Line: Kennesaw State

What are the Bearcats doing this Black Friday, you ask? Paying a team from Georgia to travel 430-something miles north for a butt-kicking.

Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

I know, I know; I get it. It's hard to get up for a game against a sub-.500 team on a holiday weekend. And if that team comes from a university you've never heard of? Fuhgeddaboudit. You've got family to see, shopping to do, and turkey sandwiches to eat. Seriously, I get it.

But Bearcats basketball is my sanctuary, so even on a holiday, I'm working for you. I'm a man of the people, you see - alternating keystrokes with bites of turkey. So on Black Friday, I'll be down in Clifton with 6,000 of my closest friends. Here's my take on what you'll see tomorrow...

  • Game: Friday, November 29 @ 4:00pm ET
  • Location: Fifth Third Arena/Shoemaker Center; Cincinnati, OH
  • TV/Radio: FSO/ESPN3; 700WLW

What we know about Kennesaw State: They shouldn't pose much of a problem for the Bearcats. Then again, I don't think Kentucky thought Cleveland State would have a lead with 8 minutes left in their game this past week. The Owls (3-5) have a do-it-all 6'5" forward named Orlando Coleman (#24) who leads the team in scoring at 11.3 a game. Coleman also leads the Owls in rebounding at 6.9 a game. Stop him, and Kennesaw State shouldn't have a chance.

The odd thing about the Owls, though, is that Coleman - in all his glory - doesn't lead the team in minutes. Delbert Love (#03) comes off the bench each game but has logged a few more minutes than Coleman. Love's a 6'0" guard who started all 30 games last year. He's second on the team in scoring at 10.5 a game.

The other two most interesting players on Kennesaw State (in my opinion and that's why you're here, right?) are two Auburn transfers: Bernard Morena (#05) and Willy Kouassi (#50). Both guys come from the Ivory Coast measuring 6'8" and 6'10", respectively. They both look like young and promising prospects for the Owls.

What the 'Cats have to do to win:

  • Rebound. I haven't made this a reason for winning in the past few games, so it was bound to pop up sooner or later. Kennesaw State doesn't shoot at a ridiculous clip from the field and they're worse than the Bearcats from the free throw stripe. But, compared to the teams UC has played so far, they're tall.
  • Force Turnovers. Mississippi State coach, Rick Ray, credited turnovers as the reason behind his team's 23 point victory against the Owls two weeks ago. Kennesaw State is capable of playing a variety of zone defense or matchup man-to-man, so a few turnovers will lead to transition points for the Bearcats.
  • Come Out Aggressive. Seems rather vague, huh? The Shoemaker Center will be a morgue on Friday: attendance has been really weak anyway and, on top of that, the students are home for Thanksgiving. If the 'Cats come out sleepwalking, you'll see a rather animated Mick Cronin roaming the Cincinnati sideline.
My prediction: The seniors on this team aren't going to come out flat, and the freshman are aggressively fighting for playing time. I'll have a late lunch/beer at Keystone followed by a stroll through the bookstore - the only shopping I'll do on Black Friday. Bearcats win: 76 - 52