The Cincinnati Bearcats are on a roll driving in the fast lane, and Larry Davis is filling in keeping the wheels on the car, and doing an excellent job along the way. I am sure Mick Cronin is at home pulling some very important puppet strings, but coach Davis is the real-deal.
On Saturday morning at 11 am on ESPN2 the 11-3 Cats will take on a mysterious 8-5 UConn team led by coach Kevin Ollie and his amazing mustache in Hartford, Connecticut. Just a year ago the Huskies cut the nets down and won a national championship behind all-world point guard Shabazz Napier.
Coach Davis is well-aware of the dangers that lurk in Hartford, stating “we’ll have to have our best execution game of the year by far if we want to score points against them, and we’ll have to have our best defensive effort by far against them.” Davis continued, “their record is a little bit deceiving because they lost two at the buzzer, and they didn’t have Boatright in one of the games.”
This year UConn was picked to win the AAC in the preseason polls. UConn is led by senior guard #11 Ryan Boatright, averaging 16.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. Sophomore center #35 Amida Brimah also adds 11.5 points, 5.2 boards, and 2.9 blocks per game, and is a terror in the paint.
As a team, the Huskies average 66.8 points per game, and shoot the ball at 45.8% from the field, and 31.7% from three. While it is strange to see UConn with five losses already and unranked, those losses were all close and to very good teams such as Texas, West Virginia, Duke, Temple (in OT), and Yale (by 1 point). The Huskies are very young, but very talented as always.
These two teams will be very evenly matched statistically.
Given how the UC bigs are playing, including Clark, Ellis, and DeBerry, I expect UC to outrebound UConn and to get a chunk of their points in the paint. UC is shooting the ball extremely well right now. Gary Clark is growing as a player each and every time he hits the court, which is just scary. Farad Cobb off the bench will be the X factor in this game. I look to see him have another big game after largely being silenced during the ECU game.
Prediction: 63-53 UC wins.
And now a little video from the game last year.
By Andy Smith