- Tipoff: 9 p.m. ET
- Television: ESPNU
- Announcing crew: Bernie Guenther (play-by-play) and Mark Wise (analyst)
- Radio: 700 WLW
- Announcing crew: Dan Hoard (play-by-play) and Chuck Machock (analyst)
- Series history: Cincinnati has never lost to UCF, taking victories in all seven previous meetings. Cal, Wake Forest and Kansas are some teams that have also been opponents of the Bearcats only seven times. Last year, the Bearcats rolled to a 69-51 road victory in the only matchup between the two sides.
If the No. 11 Cincinnati Bearcats (21-2, 10-0 American Athletic Conference) are going to win their 15th-straight game, they’ll have to go through Tacko Fall and the UCF Knights (15-8, 6-4), who visit Fifth Third Arena tonight.
Fall, a 7’6” center from Senegal is averaging 12.3 points, 9.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. He is aided by the services of guards Matt Williams (16.3 PPG, 4.8 RPG) and B.J. Taylor (17 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 4.0 APG), and will present a unique challenge to UC’s frontcourt players like Gary Clark and Kyle Washington. However, Fall has been known to disappear in games. Well, as much as anyone of his stature can. He has been held scoreless twice this season and, before putting up 15 points and nine rebounds last time out against Memphis, he recorded back-to-back games in which he had a combined eight points and seven rebounds. Foul trouble limited him in those contests, as he fouled out against Memphis and had four fouls the game before that. Attacking the rim and creating contact will be critical for UC to subdue UCF’s most dangerous frontcourt performer.
Of course, in Clark and Washington, who are coming off excellent performances against UConn, the Bearcats have athletic frontcourt options who should make life difficult for Fall and the Knights in general. Last year, even with Fall playing 20 minutes off the bench, Clark still managed 11 points, eight rebounds, five assists and four blocks, while Octavius Ellis had 10 points and 14 rebounds. Clark should be able to repeat that effort and Washington has the tools to replicate Ellis’ production.
Limiting Fall is just one part of the equation, however, as Williams and Taylor are a capable scoring tandem who can light it up in a moment’s notice. Williams had a game-high 24 points last season against UC and is scoring more in league play (17.5 PPG) than he did in non-conference action. Taylor has scored at least 16 points in all but three games this season and is a gifted playmaker as well. How well Troy Caupain, Jacob Evans, Kevin Johnson and Jarron Cumberland handle those two will be just as important as Clark and Washington’s ability to contend down low, if not more so.
However, before you start worrying about UCF running up the points, its worth noting that the Knights are just 197th in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency (103.4), although they make up for that with strong play on defense (94.2 AdjD, 17th nationally).
For more on this matchup, check out our game preview.