This is one of two meetings between the teams. The second meeting will be the regular season finale and is the final game at Fifth Third Arena for Jarron Cumberland and Trevon Scott.
About the Bearcats
Cincinnati comes into the game at 11-7 overall and a 4-2 AAC record. They have won 3 of their last 4, with the one loss coming to a tough Memphis team on the road. That loss dropped them to 1-4 in true road games and 3-6 away from home. Beating Temple wouldn’t enhance their March resume, but a loss would significantly damage it, to the point of no return.
Owls are 10-7 and just 2-4 in AAC play, having lost 4 of their last 5 games overall. During that stretch, they lost 70-44 to Tulsa, a team Cincinnati recently beat 75-44. They lost by just 4 to Houston, and got blown out at home by Tulane 65-51. The lone recent win, came against Wichita State, who at the time had just 1 loss, 0 in AAC play, and was ranked #16.
Temple comes in 87th on the latest KenPom rankings (Cincinnati is 49) and 81 in NET (Cincinnati is 61).
First Year Head Coach
Like Cincinnati, Temple is in the first year of a coaching transition. Long time coach Fran Dunphy stepped down after 13 years. Dunphy was 270-162 overall, won 20+ games in 9/13 seasons and led Temple to the NCAA Tournament 8 times, but won just 2 first round games.
Dunphy is replaced by former Temple star and Philadelphia 76ers player Aaron McKie. The succession plan had been in the works for a few years as McKie had been an assistant coach at Temple since 2014.
Temple Players to Watch
Temple has two players averaging double figures, with both being the only two guys playing over 30 minutes per game - Quinton Rose (14.4 ppg) and Nate Pierre-Louis (10.5 ppg).
Pierre-Louis, a 6’4 guard, also leads the team with 8.8 rpg. Rose averages 4.6 rpg and a team-leading 3.7 apg.
Cincinnati is 22-9 overall vs Temple and 8-3 since the formation of the AAC in 2013. Cincinnati has won 5 in a row, including 3 wins at Temple during that stretch.
They played one time last year, a 72-68 win in Philly that required coming back from a 14 point deficit. Cincinnati trailed by 10 points at halftime, and outscored Temple 47-33 in the second half. Jarron Cumberland played 38 minutes and scored 25 points on 6-17 shooting. Trevon Scott had 13 points and 6 rebounds and Keith Williams scored 9 points.
The previous trip to Philly before last year, was a fun one in 2018.
He Called Game!— CollegeBB News (@CollegeBBNCAA) January 5, 2018
Jacob Evans nails the clutch jumper to give #19 Cincinnati a 55-53 win over Temple.
Kyle Washington: 18 PTS, 6 REB pic.twitter.com/Qm6wifsyqp
The last four games in Philly have been tricky, with Cincinnati going 3-1 with point margins of 4, 2, 6, -2.
Cincinnati has struggled in close games this season, but will need to rely on their All-American closer to put Temple away.