It’s been three weeks since Cincinnati beat UConn in Storrs, and although the final score was within 10 points, the game was not close. UConn didn’t score a single point for seven and a half minutes. It was a very bad game for the Huskies.
The two teams have their rematch in Cincinnati tonight at 7 p.m., and although the game is on ESPN, you do not have to watch this game. This is not, of course, to say that you shouldn’t watch this game. Supporting UConn is a worthy endeavor and many devoted fans will surely have an interest in seeing how the team does against their best conference opponent. But given everything we know about this team, there isn’t any reason to expect an upset.
Cincinnati is one of the best teams in the country and might even be underrated at No. 11 in the AP Poll. The Bearcats’ defense is top-notch, the second-best in the country, and their offense gives themselves plenty of scoring opportunities through great rebounding and high free throw rates.
It’s not unreasonable to think Mick Cronin’s team will shut down UConn’s offense. It’s what Cincinnati does. The Bearcats held Temple to 42 points in late January. In Temple’s next game, they dropped 85 points on UConn. It’s been that type of year for UConn and that type of year for Cincinnati. Hopefully, UConn can put up a fight again, like they did late in the second half in the earlier game against Cincinnati, but if adding the home-court advantage is too much for the Huskies to overcome, you may feel compelled to change the channel.
Of course, if you turn the game off and UConn wins, I can’t prevent other people from mocking you. That’s just how these things go.
The Bearcats have four players scoring at least 11 points per game even with their slow offensive style, and they can all shoot well from outside. They have four bench players with a box plus-minus of five or higher (UConn only has one such player on its entire roster). They’re deep and don’t have many weaknesses, and they force the opposing team to make mistakes on both ends of the floor.
That’s the type of team that seems very capable of blowing out the Huskies, who struggle on the road and have been on the receiving end of some rough blowouts this season. One has to imagine UC wins comfortably.
PREDICTION: Cincinnati 68, UConn 53