College Basketball

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Rutgers (7-8) at Cincinnati (14-2)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 11, 6 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Fifth Third Arena (13,176) -- Cincinnati, Ohio. Television: CBSSN. Home Record: Rutgers 7-6, Cincinnati 11-0. Away Record: Rutgers 0-2, Cincinnati 2-1. Neutral Record: Rutgers 0-0, Cincinnati 1-1. Conference Record: Rutgers 1-1, Cincinnati 3-0. Series Record: Cincinnati leads, 12-4.

GAME NOTES: After escaping Houston with a win, the Cincinnati Bearcats will continue their quest to break into the national rankings when they host the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in an American Athletic Conference showdown at Fifth Third Arena.

Trips away from home for Rutgers have been few and far between this season. The Scarlet Knights have played 13 of their 15 games at home, but that has not exactly yielded a ton of success. They are just 7-8 overall, although an 83-76 loss to No. 12 Louisville last Saturday ended a three-game win streak. Rutgers won't be on the road long, as it returns to the RAC to host UCF on Wednesday.

The Bearcats have been rolling of late, but survived a scare at Houston on Tuesday by posting a 61-60 victory. It was the seventh straight win for Cincinnati, which is 14-2 overall and a perfect 11-0 at home. Mick Cronin's squad will have hosting duties again this Tuesday against Temple.

The two matchups between these programs last year both went Cincinnati's way. The Bearcats have won seven of the last eight meetings, and lead the all-time series by a count of 12-4.

Rutgers trailed by as many as 17 points against Louisville, although it did manage to cut that deficit to six points on a few occasions in the final minute. The Scarlet Knights fell victim to the Cardinals' patented defensive pressure, turning the ball over 19 times, with six of those miscues coming from leading scorer Myles Mack, who finished with 19 points.

Mack (16.1 ppg, 4.4 apg) is the top offensive option for coach Eddie Jordan, who is in his first season at Rutgers. Mack got off to a slow start this season, but has scored in double figures in seven straight games and has also shown a willingness to pass the ball that was not present a year ago. Kadeem Jack (14.3 ppg, 7 rpg) anchors the team in the frontcourt as a strong scorer and decent rebounder. J.J. Moore (12.6 ppg) is the third player on the roster scoring in double figures, although Jerome Seagears (9.5 ppg, 4.2 apg) is a guy who can score and facilitate both as a reserve and a starter.

Cincinnati led, 58-47, with 3:19 to play against Houston, but uneven shooting from the free-throw line down the stretch nearly cost it the game. The Bearcats were just 3-of-7 from the stripe in the last two minutes, but Kevin Johnson sank a pair with 11 seconds to play, which made Tione Womack's buzzer- beating 3-pointer irrelevant.

In comparison to the rest of the AAC, Cincinnati is nothing special offensively, ranking ninth in scoring (71.5 ppg). However, the Bearcats are extremely formidable at the other end, placing sixth in the nation in scoring defense (56.5 ppg), while holding foes to 38.3 percent shooting. Sean Kilpatrick (18.5 ppg) leads the league in scoring, but has not been able to translate that to more production for the team due to a lack of a supporting cast. Justin Jackson (11.6 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 3.3 bpg) is the club's only other double-digit scorer, but his ability to clean the glass and block shots have been more important.

No team has been able to figure out Cincinnati at Fifth Third Arena this season. That is not going to change on Saturday as Jackson will keep the Scarlet Knights from getting easy looks at the basket, thus making sure the Bearcats keep their winning streak alive.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cincinnati 73, Rutgers 61

01/11 12:24:56 ET

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