UConn vs Cincinnati Preview and Prediction
UConn vs Cincinnati Preview
The eleventh-ranked Cincinnati Bearcats are attempting to stop a losing streak for only the second time this season when they host the underwhelming UConn Huskies Thursday night.
Mick Cronin’s ball club has lost their last two games a 67-62 decision at Houston on Feb. 15, then fell to No. 13 Wichita State 76-72 at home on Sunday. Both losses were close, and both had several common denominators, most noticeably, an inability to rebound.
Cincinnati was outrebounded 36-27 by the Cougars but outrebounded the Shockers 27-26. Wichita State, though, shot 52.9 percent from the floor including 8 of 18 from beyond the arc.
“(That) is indicative of our lack of defensive communication and lack of our adherence to the scouting report,” Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin said. “Combined with, they have a very good team. They made a few hard shots, but we gave them way too many wide-open shots. Defensive breakdowns.”
The Bearcats had won 39 straight home games before the Wichita State loss, their third this season against a team in the AP Top 25 poll.
Cincinnati’s only losing streak occurred when it lost to No. 4 Xavier and then-No. 5 Florida on Dec. 2 and 9, respectively.
“Our defense has to get better,” junior wing Jacob Evans said. “We can get better mentally with being locked in all the time. Especially late in the season, every team is better and every team knows us well. They’ve been watching us all season.”
For UConn, the end of the season could have a major impact on Kevin Ollie’s coaching future.
The Huskies snapped a two-game skid with an 84-80 victory over East Carolina on Sunday but has dropped seven of its last 10 games overall and four of its last five on the road.
Connecticut is shooting a combined 49 percent in its last four games following a 65-57 loss to the Bearcats earlier this month.
Junior guard Jalen Adams scored 20 points with four assists in that contest but the Huskies made only 36.4 percent of their shots in the loss, their fourth in a row to Cincinnati.
Like the Bearcats, the Huskies have yet to beat a top five opponent this season, dropping all six contests against ranked opponents this year and 12 in a row dating back to the 2015-16 season.
This is a bad UConn team and I expect the Bearcats to come out ready to roll at home.
LINE: -18 Cincinnati
Lay the points and watch Cincinnati win by 20+ points.
Cincinnati 77 UConn 50