RING OF RED GAME: Bearcats Take on Long-time Rival Louisville
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Feb. 19, 2009

 

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The Cincinnati Bearcats (17-9, 7-6 BIG EAST) get back to action on Saturday, Feb. 21 vs. No. 7/7 Louisville (20-5, 11-2 BIG EAST) at 2 p.m. The game will be UC's annual "Ring of Red" game in which the team will don their red uniforms and fans will be asked to wear red to the game.

Cincinnati, winners of seven it of its last 10 games will be well rested after a seven-day break since losing at nationally-ranked Pittsburgh, 85-69, last Saturday.

The game will be televised on the BIG EAST Network and locally on Fox Sports Ohio with Anthony Calhoun handling the play-by-play and Jack Armstrong providing analysis.

The Cardinals have won back-to-back games since losing to Notre Dame on Feb. 12, including a 94-76 victory Wednesday night vs. Providence. This is the 91st meeting between the two schools, which are located 106 miles apart, since the series began in 1921.

SCOUTING LOUISVILLE

·         The Cardinals own a record of 20-5 overall and are tied for second in the BIG EAST Conference with a mark of 11-2.

·         Louisville enters the game as the No. 7-ranked team in both the Associated Press Poll and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll.

·         The Cardinals have won 12 of their last 14 games, losing only to Connecticut (Feb. 2), 68-51, and Notre Dame (Feb. 12), 90-57.

·         UofL has posted a record of 6-3 away from Freedom Hall this season, including a mark of 5-1 in the BIG EAST.

·         The Cardinals rank 17th in the nation in scoring margin (+12.3) and fourth in blocked shots per game (6.8).

·         Earl Clark is Louisville's leading scorer, ranking 29th in the BIG EAST with 12.9 points a game. Clark is joined by Samardo Samuels (12.4) and Terrence Williams (12.3) as one of three players on the team averaging 12 or more points this season.

·         Along with his 12.9 ppg, Clark averages a team-best 8.7 rebounds per game, which ranks seventh in the BIG EAST. Clark has 12 double-doubles this season. He is followed closely on the team by Terrence Williams with 8.4 rpg. The two combined for 44 percent of Louisville's rebounds each game (17.1 of 38.8 rpg).

·         Williams also averages 4.7 assists per game, tying for fifth in the conference. Williams also ranks fourth in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.00), dishing out 118 assists, while committing just 59 turnovers.

·         Clark (team-high 42 blocks), Samuels (33), Williams (21) and Terrence Jennings (34) also combine for 130 of the Cardinals 164 blocked shots (79.3 percent) this season.

 

THE SERIES

·         For the third straight season, Cincinnati and Louisville are playing just once during the BIG EAST Conference regular season.

·         Last year in Freedom Hall, the Bearcats knocked off the Cardinals, 58-57, in their BIG EAST opener on Jan. 1.  Deonta Vaughn scored 11 of his 13 points in the final nine minutes of the game.

·         This is the 91st meeting between the two schools since the series began in 1921. Louisville leads the series, 51-39, and has won three of the last five match-ups.

·         The teams played sporadically until the mid-1960s when they were paired in the Missouri Valley Conference, and later in the Metro Conference, Conference USA, and now the BIG EAST.

 

PITTSBURGH NOTES - FEB. 14

·         Pittsburgh shot 67.4 percent from the field for the game, while UC shot 51.9 percent. Pitt's 67.4 shooting percentage tied a school record for single-game field goal percentage and the Bearcats lost their first game of the season when shooting 50 percent or better from the field (4-1). It is the Bearcats' first loss when shooting 50 percent or above from the field since shooting 50.0 percent in a 71-70 loss to Providence on Feb. 6, 2007.

·         Cincinnati had a season-low 24 rebounds for the game, marking the second time this season it has been held to less than 30 rebounds in a game. UC was held to 26 rebounds in an 81-72 loss to Connecticut on Jan. 10.

·         The Bearcats were outscored 12-2 in fastbreak points and 18-7 in points off turnovers.

·         Cincinnati's bench outscored Pitt 25-18.

·         UC closed within five points, 54-49, with 13:12 to play, before Pittsburgh went on a 9-0 run over the next 2:45 to take a 63-49 lead with 10:27 to play.

·         The Bearcats hit six of their first nine shots to open the second half, cutting its deficit to eight points, 51-43, with 16:27 on the clock.

·         UC had a balanced scoring attack in the opening 20 minutes as seven Bearcat players scored and five players had four or more points.

·         Cincinnati entered the half trailing 43-32 as the Panthers shot 72 percent (18-of-25) from the field in the first half, while the Bearcats shot 56 percent (14-of-25) from the floor.

·         For the second straight game, Cincinnati shot over 50 percent from the field in the first half.

·         Sophomore guard Larry Davis scored seven consecutive points over a 1:09 stretch in the second half to help UC close within single-digits with 16:00 to play. Davis finished with 13 points, his eighth double-figure scoring game of the season.

·         Senior Mike Williams scored 13 of his team-high 17 points in the second half, marking his 14th double-figure scoring game this season. Williams also added five rebounds.

·         Dixon added 10 points off the bench for the Bearcats, his eighth double-figure scoring game of the year.

·         Sophomore Alvin Mitchell scored all nine of his points in the second half off of three 3-pointers.

·         Junior Deonta Vaughn was held to nine points, the sixth time this season he has been held under 10 points in a game.

·         Freshman Yancy Gates was held to four points and a season-low one rebound.

·         Levance Fields finished with 13 assists vs. the Bearcats, marking the first time since Jan. 14, 2007 that a player has had 10-plus assists vs. UC (Chris Howard (USF) - 10 - 1/14/07).

 

"D" THE THREE:

·         In the past six games, Cincinnati has gone 4-2 and one of the reasons for its success has been its ability to defend the 3-pointer.

·         In their first seven league games, opponents shot .425 from deep, connecting on 54-of-127 long-range attempts.

·         In the past six contests, UC has held Notre Dame, Villanova, and Georgetown to a combined 25-of-87 from behind the arc (.287).

·         Notre Dame, Villanova, and Georgetown are ranked in the top eight in the BIG EAST in 3-point field goal percentage and the Irish's three made 3-pointers were a season-low for Notre Dame.

·         Notre Dame's Kyle McAlarney, who was leading the BIG EAST in 3-pointers made per game (4.05) and was third in 3-point percentage (.458) heading into his match-up with UC, went  0-for-5 from three and 2-for-12 from the field.

 

REVERSAL OF FORTUNE

·         Cincinnati has been in the middle of the pack in most BIG EAST statistics this season in overall and conference-only contests.

·         After starting out 0-3 in conference action, UC has won seven of its last 10 games.

·         In the first three conference games, junior Deonta Vaughn averaged 13.0 ppg, and shot 30-percent from behind-the-arc. Over the last 10 games, Vaughn is averaging 17.2 ppg and is shooting 36.2 percent from deep.

·         Freshman Yancy Gates has established himself in the post over the last 10 games as his scoring average went from 10.0 ppg over the first three league games to 10.6 over the last 10. Gates is also averaging 0.9 bpg over the last 10 games after having just one total block in the first three league contests.

·         Another telling stat for UC is during its first three conference opponents, the Bearcats went to the line just over 11 times per game on average. Since the loss to Connecticut on Jan. 10, Cincinnati is averaging just under 20 free throw attempts per game (19.5).

 

WORKING TOGETHER AS ONE

·         Throughout the entire season, UC's primary scoring has come from either junior Deonta Vaughn, freshman Yancy Gates, and senior Mike Williams.

·         Over the past four games, those three players are all averaging in double figures (Vaughn - 18.3 ppg; Gates - 12.8 ppg; Williams - 11.5 ppg), but it has been the emergence of sophomore Larry Davis and freshman Dion Dixon that have given the Bearcats a much needed scoring presence out of the shooting guard position.

·         In the last four games, Dixon and Davis are averaging 25.5 and 24.5 minutes per game, respecitvely. In that amount of work, the duo is combining to score  20.3 ppg, grab 3.2 rpg, and dish out 3.5 apg.

·         Dixon and Davis also have combined to shoot 57.2 percent from the floor and 47.8 percent from three-point land.

·         Since playing at Villanova on Feb. 1, the shooting guard position has outscored every other position on the floor for UC.

 

CLASSIC TRIO

·         In Cincinnati's win over St. John's, freshman Yancy Gates scored 21 points, junior Deonta Vaughn scored 14, and senior Mike Williams added 12 points, marking the fifth time this season that all three players have scored 10-plus points in a game.

·         UC is 4-1 in the games where Gates, Vaughn, and Williams score in double-figures, as the trio scored 10-plus points apiece vs. UAB (Dec. 6), Eastern Kentucky (Dec. 20), Connecticut (Jan. 10), Georgetown (Feb. 7), and St. John's (Feb. 11) .

·         In those five games, Vaughn is averaging 17.0 ppg, 4.2 rpg, and 5.4 apg. Gates is averaging 14.4 ppg, 6.8 rpg, while Williams is scoring 13.4 ppg and grabbing 8.4 rpg.

 

UC VS. RANKED OPPONENTS

·         Cincinnati is 113-165 (.408) all-time vs. opponents ranked in the Associated Press Top 25, including a 22-19 (.536) record in Fifth Third Arena.

·         UC is 1-6 vs. teams ranked in both the AP or ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll this season and 1-4 vs. teams ranked in the Associated Press Poll.

·         Last season, head coach Mick Cronin led the Bearcats to a pair of home wins vs. ranked teams, beating No. 19 Villanova, 69-66, and No. 15 Pittsburgh, 62-59.

·         UC is 3-14 vs. ranked opponents under Cronin.

 

DOWN THE STRETCH THEY COME ...

·         In the final five games of the regular season, the Bearcats will face two teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25, including Top 10 opponent, No. 7/7 Louisville (Feb. 21).

·         Of the five remaining teams on UC's schedule all but one own a winning record (USF - 8-16) and they have a combined mark of 77-47 (.621).

·         Cincinnati is currently 48th in the RPI Ratings and owns the nation's 23rd toughest schedule.

·         UC is 1-4 vs. ranked teams in the AP poll and 1-6 vs. teams ranked in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll. Its one win in both polls came in a 65-57 decision vs. Georgetown on Jan. 28.