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Game Preview: No. 11 Cincinnati Bearcats at No. 25 SMU Mustangs

The Bearcats and Mustangs link up in a Sunday showdown that has been overlooked by the NCAA.

NCAA Basketball: Southern Methodist at Cincinnati David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bearcats have been getting the job done against everybody over the last couple of months and will hope to continue that streak against their biggest threat in the conference on Sunday against No. 25 SMU. The first matchup between the two teams came down to the final seconds with the Bearcats gutting out a 66-64 win. But this game has bigger implications, with the game being at SMU and postseason play in both team’s sights, we will most likely get a very intense battle.

Get to Know the Opponent

The biggest threat on the offensive side of the ball for SMU is Semi Ojeleye who is averaging 18.2 points per game on an impressive 48 percent field goal percentage. n the first matchup between these teams, UC was able to keep Ojeleye sort of contained to 12 points which was a big reason the ‘Cats were able to squeeze out the win.

The problem player in the first matchup was Sterling Brown who dropped 20 points with fourth three pointers at Fifth Third when the teams linked up in January. The best bet for UC is to get either Ojeleye or Brown out of rhythm early, but that is easier said than done. he Mustangs are one of few teams in the conference that can match UC’s talent and with a seven-game win streak going into Sunday’s home game, they have a real shot to take out the top team in the conference.

Gut Check Time

A lot of people are talking about the Bearcats possibly falling to SMU on Sunday afternoon. This game will be the biggest to date in terms of UC proving its worth to the country. A convincing win on Sunday against the Mustangs could push the Bearcats into the AP top 10, and would give the 'Cats a huge confidence boost as they finish out the year. For big time playmakers like Troy Caupain, Jacob Evans, Kyle Washington and Gary Clark, it's gut check time, time to prove to every team in the country that they are the real deal coming down the stretch.

On Sunday afternoon at Moody Coliseum, I think Mick Cronin and the Bearcats will come ready to prove themselves and get a victory. Watch for Caupain and Clark to come locked in and put up a couple of big performances, in a must-watch American Athletic Conference showdown.