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Cincinnati vs UCF Basketball Preview

Cincinnati travels to Orlando on Saturday with a 9-6 record and in must-win mode.

NCAA Basketball: Tulsa at Cincinnati Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday January 11 at noon ET, Cincinnati Bearcats play at UCF on ESPN2.

2019-20 Roller Coaster Season

The 2019-20 basketball season has felt a bit like a roller coaster for Cincinnati, especially in the past month. They completed flopped against Colgate, failing to put away an inferior opponent, only to lose in the final minutes at home. The next game, they came out and put together their best 40 minutes of the year beating a Tennessee team, who was ranked at the time.

A few days later, they looked bad against Iowa, in a game they still had a chance to win. After a long layoff from the holidays, they blew out UConn to open conference play, inspiring confidence that perhaps a break through was on the horizon.

It proved to be a one-off performance, as last Saturday, Cincinnati lost on the road to Tulane, again an inferior opponent.

Then on this past Wednesday, the Bearcats crushed Tulsa 75-44 at Fifth Third Arena.

You have no idea which UC team is going to show up each game. They have yet to establish any real momentum this year and cannot put together a valid run. They have a pair of 3 game winning streaks, but have alternated loss-win in each of the last six games.

This game is crucial in an effort to establish some sort of momentum.

0-3 in true road games

It’s also crucial because at some point in 2020, the Bearcats are going to have to win on the road.

Cincinnati is 2-5 away from Fifth Third Arena this season and 0-3 in true road games, losing to Ohio State, Xavier, Tulane. There was a loss to Iowa in Chicago and a 2-1 record in the Virgin Islands for Paradise Jam.

About UCF

Knights made the NCAA Tournament in 2019, winning a game for the first time in school history and they were inches away from upsetting Duke in the second round.

They finished the 2018-19 with a record of 24-9 and 13-5 in conference play. They enter Saturday at 9-6 and 0-3 in AAC play, losing to Tempe at home and on the road to Houston and SMU.

Knights suffered a bad loss earlier this year, losing to Pennsylvania (7-5).

Gone last year’s team is legendary center Tacko Fall, guards BJ Taylor, and Aubrey Dawkins. That’s 29 ppg, 14.9 rpg, and 5.1 apg gone from last year. All three men started all 33 games, with Dawkins and Taylor both playing over 33 minutes per game. That’s a lot of production to lose. Terrell Allen also started all 33 games and he has transferred to Georgetown.

Senior Dazon Ingram and junior Collin Smith are the guys to watch on this year’s team.

  • Smith started 32/33 games last season and leads UCF in scoring, averaging 13.5 ppg while shooting 48.7% from the field. He is also second on the team in rebounding, averaging 6.5 rpg
  • The leading rebound is Ingram, at 7.5 rpg. Ingram is third on the team in scoring at 9.5 ppg. Ingram is in his first year at UCF, after transferring from Alabama.

Caesar DeJesus is another guy to watch for UCF. He is the team’s second leading scorer at 11.1 ppg and is shooting 38.7% from three and 52.5% from the field.

Recent series vs UCF

Bearcats are 10-2 all-time vs UCF. The first loss came in 2017 and lost last March in their most recent trip to Orlando. Knights won 58-55, to give them their second win over a ranked team, the first time in school history they accomplished that feat in one season. And the most wins in program history, surpassing the previous high of 22.