Top 25 Showdown: #24 Cincinnati vs #21 Rhode Island
Top 25 Showdown
We have one showdown this weekend in college basketball that pairs two ranked teams. No. 21 Rhode Island and No. 24 Cincinnati, both undefeated through their early tune-ups, square off Saturday at the Hall of Fame Tip-Off at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn.
The winner likely will draw a Sunday matchup with No. 1 Duke, which opens Saturday against Penn State — the only unranked team of the four. The losers also meet Sunday.
Cincinnati (2-0) was ranked in the 26th spot in the first hoop poll but crawled up to No. 24 this week.
“The rankings don’t really mean nothing to us,” coach Mick Cronin said. “We try to get past that. We are thankful that we are ranked, but we try not to look at that little number. Cincinnati basketball is Cincinnati basketball, ranked or not. We’ve just got to come ready to play.”
The Bearcats routed Brown 84-55, then earned a 74-51 victory over Albany on Monday in the second of their four tournament games. The ‘Cats used a 21-4 run in the second half to put away the Great Danes.
Rhode Island improved to 3-0 on Wednesday night, fighting off local rival Brown 79-72 in a true rivalry-type battle.
“Playing Brown before we go to Mohegan was a great challenge for us,” coach Dan Hurley said. “I have great respect for (coach) Mike Martin and his program. This was the first time we were challenged. It was the first time we were in a tight game where we had to make some plays.
“We’re happy to survive the game. It’ll be good to get two days off before the next one.”
Dan Hurley’s Rhode Island team is an experienced outfit, led by Atlantic 10 preseason Player of the Year E.C. Matthews. Matthews missed most of last season with a knee injury, but the 6-foot-5 junior guard has returned to lead the Rams with 20.0 points per game.
The other four starters are 6-3 junior guard Jared Terrell (14.7 ppg), 6-7 senior forward Hassan Martin (13.0 points, 9.3 rebounds, 5.0 blocks per game), 6-9 senior forward Kuran Iverson (12.0 ppg) and 6-foot junior point guard Jarvis Garrett (7.7 ppg, 5.0 apg).
“A couple years back, Matthews took a lot of their shots,” Cronin said. “Now with him back in the fold and being an NBA prospect, he’s got more offensive firepower around him.”
The Bearcats are hitting 25.6 percent of their 3-point tries and 62.5 percent from the free-throw line, numbers they will need to improve upon against opponents such as Rhode Island and – potentially – Duke. Evans is one of the few players succeeding in both categories (46.2 percent, 80 percent) as he continues to build upon a solid finish to his freshman campaign, which included a career-high 26 points in Cincinnati’s loss in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Junior forward Kyle Washington has 29 points and 15 rebounds in 45 minutes on the young season.
Prediction: Rhode Island 67 Cincinnati 65https://www.myfantasysportstalk.com/top-25-showdown-24-cincinnati-vs-21-rhode-island/https://i1.wp.com/www.myfantasysportstalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/a-67.jpg?fit=640%2C300&ssl=1https://i1.wp.com/www.myfantasysportstalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/a-67.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Conference USANCAABRecent PostsCincinnati Bearcats,College Basketball,Rhode Island Rams,top 25 showdownTop 25 Showdown We have one showdown this weekend in college basketball that pairs two ranked teams. No. 21 Rhode Island and No. 24 Cincinnati, both undefeated through their early tune-ups, square off Saturday at the Hall of Fame Tip-Off at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn. The winner likely...Dan SchalkDan Schalkmyfantasysportstalk@gmail.comAdministratorDan Schalk is a sports enthusiast with degrees in Sports Coaching and Sports Management. He founded MyFantasySportsTalk in July of 2014 to bring a new platform to the sports media industry and allow various sports fans across the country have their voices be heard. Hailing from Buffalo, NY the land of the real chicken wing, you can stay up-to-date with Dan on Twitter @ffsportstalk You can also check some of Dan's work at Fantasypros.com, as he covers the Houston Astros as a team correspondent.MyFantasySportsTalk