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Game Preview: No. 18 Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Houston Cougars

The Bearcats are coming off a loss and will look to show up big in their last game at Fifth Third Arena this season.

NCAA Basketball: Cincinnati at Houston Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

For the last time this season, the Cincinnati Bearcats will take the floor at Fifth Third Arena, as they tangle with the Houston Cougars in an American Athletic Conference test. This will be an emotional one to be sure, as it will be the last home game for seniors Troy Caupain and Kevin Johnson, as well as walk on Zack Tobler.

Get To Know The Opponent

The Cougars will enter Thursday’s contest against the Bearcats with a 20-8 record and a a hold on third place hold in the AAC. The last time the Cougars and ‘Cats linked up, the result was a nine-point UC win at Hofheinz Pavilion. The big names to watch this time around are similar to last, with Rob Gray Jr. and Damyean Dotson leading the charge for the Cougars. Gray dropped 21 points the last time he played UC and averages 20.3 per game this season. His small stature will fool you because he is a threat to score from anywhere on the court. Dotson stands opposite Gray at the guard position and averages 18 points per game. His 6'5" frame allows him to cause a lot of mismatches and gets him a lot of looks close to the hoop. If Gray and Dotson are given any breathing room, then it will be a long night for the Bearcats.

An Ugly Loss

UC is coming off of an ugly loss at the hands of the UCF Knights, which dropped itthree spots in the AP poll. UC shot an inexcusable 29.6 percent from the field and had a very hard time getting the ball to the middle with 7'6" Tacko Fall standing in their way. On top of all this, Tre Scott missed an open alley oop from Troy Caupain which would have sent the game to overtime. The UCF game was definitely a learning experience and hopefully, the Bearcats come to their last game at Fifth Third against Houston with a bit of pent up anger.

Home Sweet Home

Luckily, the Bearcats absolutely kill it at Fifth Third Arena and have a 25-game win streak at home to show for it. The home crowd this season has done its job, and the Bearcats feed off that energy very well. If UC fans will travel to watch this team in March to make some noise, then the Bearcats have a real chance to make a deep run in March Madness.

As for Thursday, its likely that there will be extra feeling coming from the chants, cheers and jeers, as Caupain, Johnson and Tolber say goodbye.

Expect a big crowd on against Houston, and a win. The Cougars have had real issues this year getting help from anybody not named Dotson or Gray. With UC's home defense playing like it is, the Cougars' twoman show will not be enough to knock off the Bearcats. Expect UC to really look hot to start the game and make a statement in its last home game this season.