I've already stated my take on the Cincinnati Bearcats suspensions, so I'll leave that out of this preview, but the fact that three Bearcat players 6-9 and above won't suit up tonight when they host the Oklahoma Sooners should bode well for OU.
Since 6-9 Yancy Gates, 6-10 Cheikh Mbodji and 6-9 Octavius Ellis have been on the bench, Cincy has gone away from an inside game and has relied on the outside shot while cruising through a four-game win streak against inferior competition. In the four games since the brawl with Xavier, the Bearcats have averaged 29 three-point attempts per game, making 55 out of 116 -- 47.4% . To put it in perspective, before the suspensions, the most threes Cincy had attempted in a game was 20 in a win over Georgia, and against Xavier the Bearcats were a dismal 1 of 16 from behind the arc. During this span, Cincy has also seen the emergence of 6-4 Sean Kilpatrick, who has averaged 17.3 ppg in the past four as Cincy has gone mainly to a four guard set.
So the key for this game is for Oklahoma to not just defend the perimeter, but also keep banging the boards, as they have done all season. OU is averaging 42.2 rebounds per game, good for fourth nationally. If Romero Osby and Andrew Fitzgerald can bang inside, they should be able to free up looks for Steven Pledger and Cameron Clark.
Even with the suspended three, Cincy would have a tough time with the emerging Sooners, so without them, and having to rely on the outside shot, should mean the bigger, aggressive Sooners will leave Cincinnati with a victory... and maybe a chili cheese dog or two from Cincinnati's own Skyline Chili (which is infinitely better than Goldstar).
The game tips at 8pm CST and can be seen on ESPNU.
Cincy can win with the three (3 votes)
Oklahoma's got this in the bag (4 votes)
Mmmmmmm, Skyline Chili (5 votes)
12 total votes