There are seven undefeated teams left in college basketball. Cincinnati is one of them, though their toughest opponent so far has been either Seton Hall or a weaker-than-usual Xavier team. Despite their record (15-0), the Bearcats are generally considered something of a paper tiger, but with all of those wins under their belt, they have to be considered a dangerous team.
The Bearcats have two players who are averaging double-digit points per game. Junior guard Dion Dixon leads the team with 12.9 ppg, while junior forward Yancy Gates contributes 12.2 points per contest. Point guard Cashmere Wright scores only 9.3 ppg, but adds 3.9 assists on average.
Both Sean Kilpatrick, Rashad Bishop and Larry Davis have been effective from beyond the arc this season, connecting on over 40% of their attempts. Among starters, Gates is the worst distance shooter at only 14.3%.
Cincinnati's defense is rated 10th by KenPom.com, while their offense is 42nd. The Wildcats are favored to win the game 70-65 (with a 69% chance of victory). The Wildcats will have to play tighter defense against Cinci than they did against USF if they hope to squeeze out a victory tomorrow afternoon.
Getting Stokes on the scoresheet early in the game would be a good way to set the tone cause the Bearcats defense to adjust. Solid play from Wayns and Fisher will also be important. Limiting turnovers and distributing the ball to the Stokes and the bigs will help keep Cinci from getting too many chances to get in the game. Using the shot clock and executing on ball movement (rather than dribbling for 20 seconds at the top of the key before driving the lane) will help find good shots and allow Villanova to play defense in the half-court more often.
Overall, this is one of the tougher defenses that the 'Cats will face, and it is a team that is not used to losing this season. They will need to be fired up and bring a lot of energy to the court to hand Cincinnati their first loss of the season.
The game will tip-off at Noon from the Pavilion. It will be televised locally in Philadelphia on WPVI as well as on ESPN3.com (blackouts apply).
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