Men's Basketball Travels to No. 8/7 West Virginia

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GOBEARCATSDOTCOM

GOBEARCATSDOTCOM
Men's Basketball |

Feb. 26, 2010

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Game 28: Cincinnati at No. 8/7 West Virginia

Saturday, Feb. 27 | 2 p.m. | WVU Coliseum (14,000) | Morgantown, W.Va. | TV: BIG EAST Network/CW | Radio: 700 WLW

 

THE MATCH-UP

After snapping a two-game losing streak Wednesday night with a 74-69 victory over DePaul, the Cincinnati Bearcats (16-11, 7-8 BIG EAST) hope to even their record in the BIG EAST Conference as they travel to Morgantown to take on West Virginia (21-6, 10-5 BIG EAST) at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 27. The Mountaineers, who  are in the thick of the race at the top of the BIG EAST standings, are coming off a 73-62 loss at Connecticut on Monday and have just two wins in their last five games. Saturday’s game will be telecast on the BIG EAST Network and locally on Cincinnati CW (WKRCDT2) with Mike Gleason (play-by-play) and Mike Kelley (analyst) handling the call. Dan Hoard (play-by-play) and Chuck Machock (analyst) will call the game on 700 WLW.

 

THE SERIES

Saturday’s game will be the 17th meeting between Cincinnati and West Virginia.  Cincinnati holds a 10-6 lead in the series, which began in the 1940-41 season.  UC has won the last two meetings in the series, including a 65-61 victory in Fifth Third Arena last year. The Bearcats have won four of the last five meetings, including a 3-1 mark under Mick Cronin. The Mountaineers own a 4-3 advantage in the series in Morgantown.

 

SCOUTING THE MOUNTAINEERS

·         West Virginia was ranked No. 8 in the Associated Press poll and No. 7 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll heading into this week and owns a record of 21-6 overall and 10-5 in the BIG EAST.

·         The Mountaineers are tied for third with Pittsburgh in the BIG EAST standings.

·         WVU has lost three of its last five games, including a 73-62 decision at Connecticut on Monday.

·         West Virginia is 10-2 at home in the Coliseum this season, including a 5-2 mark in league play.

·         The Mountaineers are seventh in the BIG EAST in scoring offense, averaging 74.7 points per game, led by the BIG EAST’s 10th-leading scorer Da’Sean Butler’ (17.2 ppg).

·         Butler is one of four WVU players averaging in double-figures (Kevin Jones - 13.6 ppg; Devin Ebanks -12.3; Darryl Bryant - 10.7).

·         Ebanks (8.5 rpg) and Jones (7.7 rpg) are the team’s top two rebounders, ranking sixth and ninth, respectively, in the BIG EAST.

·         As a team, the Mountaineers (+7.0) are second in the BIG EAST in rebounding margin behind Cincinnati (+7.5).

·         WVU takes care of the basketball and is ranked second in the conference in turnover margin at +2.2. The Moutaineers are giving up the ball 11.8 times a game.

 

CURRENT BEARCATS VS. WEST VIRGINIA

·         Senior guard Deonta Vaughn and sophomore forward Yancy Gates are the only current Bearcats to have scored in double figures vs. West Virginia. Vaughn has averaged 15.3 ppg in four career games vs. WVU, while Gates posted 22 points in his first career match-up last season in Cincinnati.

·         Gates also posted a team-high 11 rebounds in last year’s game.

·         Vaughn is also the team’s top assist man vs. the Mountaineers with 13 in three games (4.3 apg).

 

FAMILIAR FACES AND PLACES

·         Saturday will be the third meeting between Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin and West Virginia coach Bob Huggins, however their relationship goes back much further.

·         Cronin joined Coach Huggins and UC in 1996-97 as the team’s video coordinator after spending five years as a high school coach.

·         After one year overseeing video, Cronin was named an assistant coach at UC and spent the next four years with Coach Huggins, compiling a record of 108-26 (.806), winning four Conference USA regular-season titles, and going to four straight NCAA Tournaments.

·         Their 1999-00 team, which was led by that year’s National Player of the Year Kenyon Martin, was ranked in the Top 4 nationally all season.

 

HITTING THE GLASS

·         The match up of West Virginia vs. Cincinnati will feature two of the nation’s top rebounding teams.

·         West Virginia is 41st in the nation averaging 38.7 rebounds per game and a +7.0 rebounding margin (14th in the NCAA - through Feb. 24).

·         Cincinnati is 18th in the NCAA in rebounds per game with 39.7 per game and owns a +7.5 rebounding margin, which is seventh in the nation.

·         Both teams fare extremely well rebounding on the offensive end of the floor with the Mountaineers ranking second in the country with 16.0 offensive rebounds per game and the Bearcats tied for 44th with 13.5 rpg.

 

IT’S ALL ABOUT DEFENSE AND REBOUNDING

·         Two of the hallmarks of the University of Cincinnati program over the last 20 years — both under Mick Cronin and former head coach Bob Huggins — has been the team’s propensity to play defense and rebound.

·         Those two core values have gone a long way in determining the winner of the last two games between UC and WVU.

·         In the Bearcats last visit to Morgantown on Jan. 30, 2008, Cincinnati held West Virginia to a school-record low 20.0 percent shooting (10-of-50) and won 62-39. Included in that percentage was a 1-for-22 (.045) effort from behind the 3-point line.

·         UC also held a 47-26 advantage in rebounding.

·         In last year’s game on Feb. 26, which was decided late by four points, 65-61, the two teams tied in rebounding at 37 a piece.

·         The Bearcats shot 47.2 percent from the field and 30.0 percent from 3-point range and held West Virginia to 33.3 percent shooting from the field and 19.0 from behind the arc.

 

FEB. 24 — DEPAUL GAME NOTES

·         Behind a career-high 23 points from sophomore Yancy Gates and freshman Lance Stephenson’s first career double-double, Cincinnati defeated DePaul, 74-69.

·         UC improved to 31-15 all-time against the Blue Demons.

·         Cincinnati’s bench outscored DePaul’s bench 36-9. The Bearcats are now 16-7 on the season when their bench outscores its opponents.

·         UC outscored DePaul, 48-30, in points in the paint. The 48 points in the paint ties a season-high as Cincinnati scored 48 points in the point against Toledo on Nov. 18.

·         The Bearcats grabbed 19 offensive rebounds which turned into 21 second-chance points. UC outscored DePaul 21-6 in second-chance points.

·         The Bearcats outrebounded the Blue Demons, 47-31, improving to 7-1 when grabbing 45-plus rebounds in a game.

·         UC shot 50.8 (30-of-59) percent from the floor, including 62.5 (15-of-24) percent in the second half, compared to just 40.6 (26-of-64) percent for DePaul.

·         UC responded with a 13-3 run over the final 4:53 of the first half, which included a one-handed dunk by freshman Lance Stephenson with three seconds to play, to take a 35-26 lead entering halftime.

·         Cincinnati outrebounded DePaul 29-15 in the first half as junior Ibrahima Thomas and Stephenson led the Bearcats with seven rebounds apiece. UC’s 10 first-half offensive rebounds turned into 10 second-chance points.

·         The Bearcats outshot the Blue Demons 42.9 percent (15-of-35) to 35.5 percent (11-31) from the floor in the opening 20 minutes.

·         Trailing 20-11 with 9:03 to play, DePaul went on a 12-2 run to take a one-point lead, 23-22, with 5:03 remaining in the first half.

·         Gates scored 12 points and grabbed five rebounds in the first half giving him 17 double-figure scoring games on the season. Gates finished with a career-high 23 points and posted eight rebounds. It is Gates’ first 20-plus point game of the season and the third of his career.

·         Stephenson recorded his first career double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds and became the fourth UC player this season to record a double-double. Stephenson was 7-of-12 from the floor and also dished out a game-high four assists. 

·         Stephenson and Thomas finished with 10 rebounds apiece, giving UC two players with 10-plus rebounds in a game for the first time since Nov. 23, 2009, against Vanderbilt at the EA Sports Maui Invitational.

 

GETTING DOWN TO THE END

·         With just three games remaining in the regular season and an NCAA Tournament bid on the line, the Cincinnati Bearcats are into one of the toughest portions of their schedule.

·         Over the final three weeks of the season, UC faces three of the nation’s top 15 teams (No. 7/8 Villanova, No. 8/7 West Virginia, No. 11/13 Georgetown).

·         UC’s final three opponents own a combined record of 63-17 (.788).

 

 

 

 


 

 

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