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The Layup Line: Eastern Illinois

A late Sunday afternoon basketball game in Clifton today. Hope the Bearcats don't play as lazy as I feel on Sunday afternoons.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Short and sweet - that's the game preview for today's titantic struggle against the Eastern Illinois Panthers. Sorry, folks, life got in the way this week.

You should note that today's game is technically the opening of the Emerald Coast Classic tournament for the Bearcats. The tournament where the Bearcats could end up playing former coach Andy Kennedy in a week (although that's not what I think will happen - but anyway).

  • Game: Sunday, November 23 @ 5:00pm ET
  • Location: Fifth Third Arena; Cincinnati, OH
  • TV/Radio: Fox Sports Ohio/ESPN3; 550 WKRC

Eastern Illinois visits Fifth Third Arena with a 1-2 record - losses coming to UC Davis and Missouri State. The Panthers average 65 points a game on 43% shooting - although I tend throw early season stats out the window at this point.

What is apparent, though, is that Eastern Illinois is led in scoring by junior forward Chris Oliver (#35) at 14 points a game.

What the 'Cats have to do to win:

  • Put in some effort. As a starting point, more effort than I put into this article. If the Bearcats keep playing defense like they have so far this year, they should be fine.
  • Keep Ellis out of foul trouble. It hasn't been an issue yet this year, but I fear at some point the lack of depth at the center position will rear it's ugly head. Let's not have that happen against the Panthers.
  • Hit some free throws. At the end of the game, I'm imagining Cincinnati'll have the lead. Need the Bearcats to hit their free throws to ice this one.
My prediction: This one shouldn't be close, really. The tests will begin starting Tuesday when the Bearcats take on NCAA Tournament participant, North Carolina Central. The 'Cats may come out lackadaisical at first, but Mick Cronin will have them turn on the jets at some point - or they won't play. Bearcats are deep enough to win this one with their bench: 69 - 52.