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Game Preview: UCF Knights at No. 11 Cincinnati Bearcats

This week presents a chance for the Bearcats to land a spot in the top 10.

NCAA Basketball: Central Florida at Cincinnati Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

We truly cannot talk about it enough. The Cincinnati Bearcats are absolutely on fire and are starting to get more recognition as they sit just one spot outside of the top 10 in the AP Poll. The Bearcats took care of business this past weekend, beating UConn 82-68 at Fifth Third bringing their win streak to 14 games. With the end of the regular season in sight, the ‘Cats must finish strong, beginning with a home contest against the UCF Knights.

Get To Know The Opponents

The Knights sit at 15-8 heading into Fifth Third Arena to face the Bearcats and with the final stretch of the year coming in, the Knights will most likely have to win the conference tournament to make it into the NCAA Tournament. UCF has a 6-5 record in the American and has struggled when playing more talented teams.

The biggest strength that UCF has is its rebounding, which ranks fourth in the country at 46.1 rebounds per game. The Knights’ two playmakers Matt Williams and Tacko Fall. lead the way Williams, a senior guard, stands 6’5” and averages 16.3 points per game and grabs 4.8 rebounds per game. Fall is the tallest player in all of college basketball, standing 7'6". He tends to tower over most folks and grabs almost 10 rebounds per game. Fall and his size will definitely affect the Bearcats ability to grab offensive rebounds but he lacks the speed and athleticism that makes UC's big men so good.

The End is in Sight

With eight games left until postseason play, the Bearcats are in full control of the driver’s seat in the American Athletic Conference. It is very easy to get complacent at this point in the year so its extremely important that UC remain as focused as ever and try to end the year with the win streak and the top spot in the American still in their grasps. With games at SMU, against Tulsa, against Memphis and at UConn still on the remaining schedule, it will not be easy to finish with the current win streak intact but this Bearcats team is proving to be something special.

My prediction for this game against the UCF Knights is a Bearcats' win. Although UCF has been extremely proficient at grabbing rebounds, I don't think they have the talent or athleticism that UC has. Look for big games from the perimeter from Troy Caupain and Jacob Evans as they will have to do a lot of damage away from UCF's big man Fall. Assuming a win on Wednesday night, the Bearcats will then shift their efforts to a showdown at No. 25 SMU.