Originally posted on Bearcats Blog  |  Last updated 2/8/13
Tomorrow night at 6pm on ESPN, the Cincinnati Bearcats play one of the biggest home games of the season when they host the Pittsburgh Panthers. Cincinnati is looking to bounce back off an ugly performance in a loss to Providence. Pitt is riding a 2 game winning streak, having defeated Syracuse and Seton Hall. Pitt is coming off a very ugly game against the Hall. Both teams know that their efforts from earlier in the week will make it hard to win this game. It's going to be a good old fashion good one.  This is the second meeting between the teams this season. The first happened on New Year's Eve. It was such a long time ago that Cincinnati scored 70 points in regulation. That's hard to believe against a team that isn't DePaul, but it really happened. This game saw Sean Kilpatrick and Cashmere Wright battle foul trouble in the first half and both score 12 points in the second. This was the game David Nyarsuk took over late with 4 points and 2 huge offensive rebounds. It seems like forever ago since he produced. JaQuon Parker had 13 in the UC win.  Pitt did not make a 3 pointer in that game. They were 15-25 at the free throw line. The Panthers made a furious rally late, but Cincinnati was able to hold them off to win 70-61.  Tomorrow is a white out. So wear some white ****.  Stats are BIG EAST PLAY ONLY    Record: 18-5, 5-4  Home: 10-3 RPI (from Real Time RPI): 26 Rank: 17 Vs Pittsburgh: 9-8 In Cincinnati: 5-2 Winning Streak: 2  Last Meeting: 70-61, December 31, 2012 Minutes Sean Kilpatrick 35.2 JaQuon Parker 31.3 Cashmere Wright 30.1 Titus Rubles 23.2 Cheikh Mbodj 22.2 Scoring Sean Kilpatrick 17.6 Cashmere Wright 13.7 JaQuon Parker 9.3 Cheikh Mbodj 5.9 Titus Rubles 5.5 Field Goal % (Min 15 attempts) Cheikh Mbodj 47.7 Justin Jackson 42.9 Shaq Thomas 40 Sean Kilpatrick 39.4 JaQuon Parker 39.2 Free Throw % (Minimum 15 attempts) Cashmere Wright 86.1 Sean Kilpatrick 75.5 Cheikh Mbodj 74 Titus Rubles 70 Justin Jackson 61 3 Pointers Made (3 point %) Sean Kilpatrick 28 (32.2%) Cashmere Wright 16 (29.6%) JaQuon Parker 11 (36.7%) Jermaine Sanders 5 (27.8%) Titus Rubles 3 (20%) Rebounding Titus Rubles 5.8 Justin Jackson 5 JaQuon Parker 5 Cheikh Mbodj 4.6 Sean Kilpatrick 4.4 Assists Cashmere Wright 29 Titus Rubles 22 JaQuon Parker 17 Sean Kilpatrick 15 Justin Jackson 14 Turnovers JaQuon Parker 24 Sean Kilpatrick 18 Cashmere Wright 16 Titus Rubles 15 Justin Jackson 14 Steals Cashmere Wright 11 Sean Kilpatrick 9 Titus Rubles 5 JaQuon Parker 5 Justin Jackson 5 Blocks Cheikh Mbodj 24 Justin Jackson 12 David Nyarsuk 8 Sean Kilpatrick 4 Titus Rubles 3 Kelvin Gaines 3 Record: 19-5, 7-4 Road/Neutral: 5-3 RPI: 35 Rank: 23/25 Minutes Tray Woodall 27 Lamar Patterson 26.5 Steven Adams 25 Talib Zanna 24.7 James Robinson 24.6 Scoring Lamar Patterson 11.3 Tray Woodall 9.7 Talib Zanna 7.4 JJ Moore 6.5 Steven Adams 6.4 Field Goal % Cameron Wright 61.3 Steven Adams 53.4 Trey Zeigler 50.9 Dante Taylor 50 Lamar Patterson 48.3 Free Throw % JJ Moore 87.5 Tray Woodall 82.1 Dante Taylor 71.4 James Robinson 67 Durand Johnson 62.5 3 Pointers Made (3 pt %) Lamar Patterson 15 (37.5%) Tray Woodall 14 (30.4%) Durand Johnson 12 (41.4%) JJ Moore 8 (29.6%) James Robinson 5 (31.3%) Rebounding Steven Adams 7.3 Talib Zanna 5.4 Lamar Patterson 4.8 Dante Taylor 3.1 Trey Zeigler 2.6 Assists Tray Woodall 55 James Robinson 32 Lamar Patterson 28 Trey Zeigler 13 Cameron Wright 11 Turnovers Tray Woodall 24 Lamar Patterson 23 James Robinson 16 Trey Zeigler 16 Steven Adams / Talib Zanna 12 Steals Tray Woodall 20 Lamar Patterson 17 James Robinson 10  Cameron Wright 8 Steven Adams 7 Blocks Steven Adams 22 Lamar Patterson 5 Talib Zanna 5 Dante Taylor 5 Cameron Wright 3 Pitt and Cincinnati play roughly the same type of pace. Don't think the style is going to dramatically improve. Hopefully the quality of play will.  Pittsburgh has won in the Big East with some good offense, 1.05 points per possession, and some damn good defense, 0.92 ppp. That's tied with Georgetown for the second lowest in the league. Cincinnati is at 1.01 and 0.96. A defensive battle will be had.  The Panthers are hitting 44.3% from the field, which is 3rd in the league. Their effective field goal %, which weighs 3s, is 48.9%, also 3rd. Cincinnati is shooting 39% and 45.3% respectively. Both of those numbers are very low in the league.  Both teams shoot a lot of free throws. Pitt has the 3rd most attempts, Cincinnati the 5th. There were 60 free throws attempted in the first meeting. Pittsburgh is the worst free throw shooting team in the league. They make 63% from the charity stripe. They were 15-25 in December. Panther opponents get to the line at the second highest rate. Cincinnati went to the line 35 times against them. That's something that has to happen again for UC to win.  Pitt is middle of the road in 3s and 3 attempts, but they are one of the better teams at making them at 34.6%. Cincinnati has attempted the most. Panther opponents are only making 28% of their 3s. Cincinnati hit just 18%. As mentioned earlier, Cincinnati held Pitt without a 3 pointer in 10 attempts.  Pittsburgh is the best offensive rebounding team in the league, pulling in 40.2% of the offensive rebounds. Cincinnati is the best defensive rebounding team at 70.1%. Cincinnati pulls in 36.9% offensively, Pittsburgh 68.8% defensively. Two of the best teams on the glass. Cincinnati had the advantage earlier in the year. The Cats pulled in 41.2% of the offensive rebounds compared to 34.3% for Pitt.  Both teams turn the ball over about the same. Pitt turns it over on 20.9% of possessions, Cincinnati 20.2%. Neither team turned it over much in December. Pitt forces turnovers on 22.7% of opponents possessions. Maybe that will hurt Cincinnati, who only turn people over on 18%.  The stakes for this game are huge. One of these teams is going to have 5 losses. Sweeping Pittsburgh would be huge for the Bearcats. This is an absolutely huge 3 game home stand. I'm not going to say that Cincinnati has to sweep it, but winning 2 of 3 is almost necessary. The closing kick is very tough. UC has to bank games like this.  Prediction I predicted Cincinnati to lose this game when I projected out the schedule. That was before the Providence loss. There is an urgency around this game. There is only 1 more crack at a good team at home. Nova is decent. UConn is decent. USF is garbage. This is a reputation game. This is a seed game. UC has not played great after the layoff. They beat a bad Rutgers team. They nearly blew a 20 point lead to a bad Seton Hall team. They lost to a bad Providence team. This is a gut check. There are no must win games in February, especially with 8 games left. There are important games, however. This is one of them. Take it down.  Cincinnati 68 Pittsburgh 65
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