Jan. 28, 2014
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The No. 13/15 University of Cincinnati men's basketball team travels to No. 12/7 Louisville on Thursday for a matchup of the top two teams in the American Athletic Conference. The contest tips from the KFC Yum! Center at 7 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on ESPN and 700 WLW.
Cincinnati (19-2, 8-0 American) has won 12 consecutive games and ranks first in the league. The Bearcats survived Temple on Sunday 80-76 in Philadelphia. Sean Kilpatrick scored a team-high 29 points, including a pair of free throws to help enable the victory. Shaquille Thomas added a career-high 15 points. Titus Rubles had nine points and six rebounds.
Louisville (17-3, 6-1 American) has won four in a row after posting an 86-47 road win at USF on Jan. 22. Four Cardinals scored in double figures led by Luke Hancock and Montrezl Harrell who posted 14 points each. Russ Smith had 12 points while Mangok Mathiang added 10 points.
Louisville leads the overall series 55-42, including a 31-15 advantage in the River City. The Cardinals have won the last two meetings, including a 67-51 decision in Louisville on March 4, 2013.
Thursday is the first meeting since 1997 when both schools are ranked in the AP Top 15. No. 9 Louisville defeated No. 8 Cincinnati 81-70 in Louisville on Jan. 30, 1997. No. 9 Louisville defeated No. 8 Cincinnati 81-70 in Louisville on Jan. 30, 1997.
UC returns home to welcome USF on Sunday at Noon ET.
Game at a Glance
Series Info: 98th meeting; Louisville leads 55-42 overall; Louisville leads 31-15 in Louisville;
Cincinnati leads 24-21 in Cincinnati; The series is tied 3-3 at neutral sites.
Current Streak: Louisville - 2
Last Meeting: Louisville won 67-51 at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville on March 4, 2013.
Coaches: Mick Cronin is in his eighth season at Cincinnati (154-102); 11th season overall (223-126). Rick Pitino is in his 13th season at Louisville (328-114); 29th season overall (682-242).
Rankings: Cincinnati is ranked No. 13 in the AP poll and No. 15 in the USA Today poll.
Louisville is ranked No. 12 in the AP poll and No. 7 in the USA Today poll.
Radio: 700 WLW-AM; Dan Hoard provides play-by-play with color analyst Chuck Machock.
TV: ESPN; Dave O'Brien provides play-by-play with color analyst Doris Burke. Jeff Goodman reports.
UC Twitter Page: @GoBEARCATS
-Cincinnati's current rankings (13/15) are its highest since Dec. 24, 2012 when it was listed 8/8. It also marks the Bearcats' best ranking in the month of January since a No. 8 ranking on Jan. 27, 2004.
-UC is off to its best start overall (19-2) and in conference play (8-0) in Mick Cronin's eight-year tenure as head coach. Entering play on Tuesday, UC was one of 12 teams in the nation with two or fewer losses on the season.
-The Bearcats are off to their best start since the 2001-02 squad began 26-2 en route to finishing 31-4 overall - the school record for wins in a season.
-UC's current 12-game win streak is its longest since starting last season 12-0. UC started the 2010-11 campaign 15-0.
-The Bearcats are 8-0 in league play for the first time since 2001-02 (started 8-0 in Conference USA). The last time UC started 9-0 in conference play was 1999-2000 (finished 16-0 in Conference USA).
-Sean Kilpatrick leads the American in scoring (19.1 points per game), ranks second in three-pointers made (2.6) and fifth in free-throw shooting (84.9 percent). He has scored 20 or more points in 10 games this season, including a season-high 29 points at Temple on Sunday. He has been the Bearcats' top scorer in 18 of 21 games.
-Justin Jackson ranks second in the nation in total blocks (71) and seventh in blocks per game (3.38). He ranks among the American's leaders in blocks (first at 3.4), offensive rebounds (first at 3.2), rebounds (fifth at 7.0) and field-goal shooting (fifth at 54.8 percent).
-Titus Rubles is averaging career highs in minutes played (26.8), points (7.3) and rebounds (6.3). He ranks eighth in the American in rebounding since the start of league action (7.4 per game).