UC Returns Home to Battle Middle Tennessee
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Dec. 19, 2013



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CINCINNATI -
The University of Cincinnati men’s basketball team returns home to Fifth Third Arena for a four-game homestand beginning with a visit from Middle Tennessee on Saturday. The game starts at 2 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on FOX Sports Ohio and 700 WLW.

Cincinnati (8-2) snapped a two-game skid on Tuesday with a 44-43 victory over former BIG EAST Conference rival Pittsburgh in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Titus Rubles’ follow basket of a Sean Kilpatrick miss with 4.2 second left decided the game. Justin Jackson led the Bearcats with a game-high 12 points, nine rebounds and three assists. Kilpatrick added nine points and six rebounds. Rubles had six points.

Middle Tennessee (8-3) is coming off a 102-52 home win over Tennessee Temple on Tuesday. The Blue Raiders had six players score in double figures led by a game-high 18 points and eight rebounds from Reggie Upshaw. Neiko Hunter contributed 16 points and seven rebounds.

The Blue Raiders are one of seven teams on UC’s schedule this season that played in the 2013 NCAA tournament. Middle Tennessee registered a 28-6 record a year ago making its first NCAA tournament since 1989 before losing to Saint Mary’s (Calif.) 67-54 in the First Four in Dayton, Ohio.

Saturday marks the third meeting in UC-Middle Tennessee series history. The Bearcats have won both previous meetings - both played at Fifth Third Arena (79-70 on Jan. 6, 1992 and 89-54 on Dec. 20, 2003). 

UC welcomes Chicago State to Fifth Third Arena on Dec. 23 at 7 p.m. Fans can purchase tickets at GoBEARCATS.com/tickets or by calling 1-877-CATS-TIX. 

Game at a Glance
Series Info: Third Meeting; Cincinnati leads 2-0; Cincinnati leads 2-0 in Cincinnati. Current Streak: Cincinnati - 2
Last Meeting: Cincinnati won 89-54 at Fifth Third Arena on Dec. 20, 2003.
Coaches: Mick Cronin is in his eighth season at Cincinnati (143-102); 11th season overall (212-126).Kermit Davis is in his 12th season at Middle Tennessee (216-142); 19th season overall (352-217).
Rankings: Cincinnati and Middle Tennessee are not ranked in either the AP or USA Today polls for Dec. 16.
Radio: 700 WLW-AM; Dan Hoard provides play-by-play with color analyst Chuck Machock.
TV: FOX Sports Ohio; Tom Gelehrter provides play-by-play with color analyst Terry Nelson.
UC Twitter Page: @GoBEARCATS

Cincinnati Storylines
-The Bearcats look to start 8-0 at home for the second consecutive season and third time in the past four years with a win Saturday against Middle Tennessee. UC was 8-0 at Fifth Third Arena last season before suffering a 55-54 loss to New Mexico on Dec. 27, 2012. The Bearcats won their first 13 home games in 2010-11 before dropping a 66-55 decision to West Virginia on Jan. 29, 2011.
-Senior guard Sean Kilpatrick entered Wednesday leading the American Athletic Conference in scoring (18.3 points per game). Kilpatrick also ranks among the nation’s best in career three-pointers made (eighth) and career points (10th). He is among the nation’s Top 50 players on both the Wooden and Naismith Award lists.
-With 1,627 career points, Kilpatrick needs 18 points to move into eighth place on the UC career scoring list, passing Louis Banks (1,644 points from 1988-91).
-Justin Jackson ranked 22nd in the nation with 3.0 blocks per game entering the week.
-The Bearcats entered the week ranked second in the nation in turnover margin at +7.7. Over the past five games, Cincinnati is enjoying a +8.2 turnover margin, forcing 16.8 opponent miscues while averaging only 8.6 turnovers itself. Following Tuesday’s game with Pitt, the Bearcats rank second in the American Athletic Conference with a +6.7 turnover margin.
-The Bearcats rank first in the American Athletic Conference in scoring defense (allowing 57.4 points). UC has held its opponent under 70 points for 17 consecutive games and in 37 of its last 39 contests.  Tuesday’s 44-43 win over Pitt marked the 25th time UC has held an opponent under 50 points during the Mick Cronin era.
-Cincinnati is 46-4 in its last 50 regular-season nonconference home games.
-UC is a combined 82-34 (.707) during the past three-plus seasons with three trips to the NCAA tournament and an appearance in the 2012 NCAA Sweet 16.