The Cincinnati Bearcats have been on quite the run to start conference play, with a 6-0 record. Although they have had their share of ugly games that came down to the wire, they have found a way to tough out wins. The Bearcats are coming off of a 55-46 win over East Carolina behind a big performances of Kyle Washington and the UC defense. Riding an eight-game winning streak, the 'Cats will head back home for a rematch against the Temple Owls whom they beat 56-50 in late December.
Get To Know The Opponent... Again
In their first meeting this season, the Owls and Bearcats went down to the final minute in a game that showcased a lot of defense. Both UC and Temple were held to less than 33 percent shooting from the field and less than 28 percent from the three-point arc. The Owls proved that their defense could hold the Bearcats offensive weapons in check, rendering the Bearcats leading scorers of the matchup (Gary Clark and Jacob Evans) to only 11 points.
Temple has had some success on defense, forcing opponents to play aggressive and in tight spaces rather than spreading the floor. Although the Bearcats are a much more talented team, when the Owls are able to control the pace they do so by playing physically and with aggression. The Owls are 10-9 this season heading into Wednesday’s conference matchup and even though their record doesn't show it, don't expect a blowout win by UC.
Playing Like a Team
During the Bearcats current eight-game win streak, the team has gotten big games out of a number of players, which is why they are so dangerous. From nightly leaders like Evans, Clark, and Troy Caupain, UC has also gotten big performances from Kevin Johnson, Washington and freshman Jarron Cumberland. It seems that even when the Bearcats top players struggle, there is always somebody on the team ready to pick up the slack. The year started out with Jacob Evans and Kyle Washington having the hot hands but has since transferred to two or three other players on the team. If UC can continue to get big performance from unexpected players then they will have a really great chance to run the table in the AAC.
I expect a tough fought battle for UC at Fifth Third Arena in a win against Temple on Wednesday night. There is a fair chance that UC could pull away in the final minutes but be ready for the Owls to give it a run for the money up until that point.