Tonight, the UCLA Bruins play the first of two games away from Pauley Pavilion when they face the Cincinnati Bearcats at Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati.
Last season, the Bearcats came into Pauley Pavilion and embarassed the Bruins, 77-63.
This season, after losing their season opener 64-56 to Ohio State, who the Bruins will face on Saturday in Chicago, the Bearcats won nine straight including games over Ole Miss, UNLV and Xavier before losing to Ben Howland’s Mississippi State Bulldogs, 70-59, on Saturday on the road.
The Bearcats are a team that plays defense very well and it should be interesting to see if Steve Alford is able to coach the Bruins well enough to beat Cincinnati. Personally, I think Mick Cronin will again out-coach Alford and the Bearcats will likely hand UCLA their fourth loss of the season.
Offensively, look for junior guard Jarron Cumberland to lead the Bearcats. Cumberland is Cincinnati’s top scorer averaging 16.3 points per game so far this season while also averaging 2.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. Cumberland is a balanced offensive threat who shoots 43.7% from the floor and 43.4% from three-point range.
Sophomore guard Keith Williams also poses an offensive threat. He’s second on the team with an average of 11.6 points per game while redshirt junior Tre Scott is adding an average of 10 points per game. Scott also leads the Bearcats in rebounds per game with an average of 6.4.
Senior Justin Jenifer is back again this season and leads Cincinnati in assists with 4.4 per game. Rounding out the starting five for the Bearcats is 6’11” tall center Nysier Brooks. While Moses Brown has a few inches on Brooks, this should be an interesting matchup because Brooks is a junior and has more experience than Brown.
Look for Cronin to try to win this game with his starters. None of the Bearcats’ bench players are averaging more than 3.5 points per game even though at least four of them are averaging more than ten minutes per game.
This game reminds me a lot of the Michigan State game where it was talent vs. experience and coaching. Like the Michigan State game, I expect experience and coaching to win out.
Listen to the Game Here on BN!
This season, we are proud to, again, have today’s audio feed for everyone who opts to use the TuneIn player embedded below. For optimum results, start the audio feed then pause your DVR and sync them up together. Tonight’s game is on ESPN2 with Adam Amin and John Thompson III. If you’d rather listen to Josh Lewin and Tracy Murray call today’s game, you can do that right here.