Pre-game preview: Cincinnati

Here's a pre-game preview of UConn's American Athletic Conference showdown with No. 11 Cincinnati:

Tip-off time: noon (ESPN)

Records: Cincinnati 24-4, 13-2; UConn 22-6, 10-5

Last game:Cincinnati lost to Louisville, 58-57, Feb. 22; UConn won at South Florida, 61-56, Wednesday

Probable starters:

UConn, 6-1 sr. guard Shabazz Napier (17.8 pts, 5.5 assists, 5.9 rebs), 6-0 jr. guard Ryan Boatright (12.6 pts, 3.5 assists), 6-6 grad. forward Lasan Kromah (7.2 pts, 3.0 rebs), 6-9 jr. forward DeAndre Daniels (12.6 pts, 5.5 rebs), 7-0 fr. center Amida Brimah (4.1 pts, 3.0 rebs, 2.5 blks)

Cincinnati, 6-1 jr. guard Ge’Lawn Guyn (4.8 pts), 6-4 sr. guard Sean Kilpatrick (20.5 pts, 4.5 rebs), 6-7 so. forward Shaquille Thomas (6.9 pts, 2.8 rebs), 6-7 sr. forward Titus Rubles (7.0 pts, 6.4 rebs), 6-8 sr. forward Justin Jackson (11.3 pts, 7.0 rebs)

Noteworthy:

--  The Huskies have won five of six and are tied for fourth place with Memphis.

The Bearcats have dropped two of four and are tied for first with Louisville.

-- Series: UConn leads, 8-5, losing 63-58 on Feb. 6. Kilpatrick had 26 points and 12 rebounds while the Huskies played without Daniels.

-- Top reserve: 6-5 junior Jermaine Sanders (5.9 pts, 3.4 rebs).

-- Coach Kevin Ollie on the importance of today's game:  "t would be a big time win for us. Just like USF was a big time win. I can’t measure it. I don’t want my team to measure it.

"t’s just another win and another opportunity that we can show that we’re a better team. I want the guys to understand and respect that."

-- Cincinnati is off to best start in coach Mick Cronin’s eight years.

-- Kilpatrick leads AAC in scoring and Napier is second while Jackson ranks first in blocks (3.1).

-- Hot: UConn reserve Niels Giffey is averaging 11 points and is 8-for-13 from field in last two games.

-- Cold: Cincinnati is holding opponents to league low 57.4 points per game.

-- The Huskies are 3-2 vs. ranked teams.

-- The Bearcats are 6-1 on road in AAC.

-- UConn rarely plays zone but used that defense to overcome a second half deficit and beat South Florida Wednesday. Ollie even put Napier on the low block.

 "If I go zone again, he’ll be on the block again, seriously," Ollie said. "Just to get them out of rhythm. I know they didn’t scout it... It was just something that I wanted to throw in there. Wev’e been working on it."

-- Follow me on Twitter @GavinKeefe

-- Check back later for a post-game breakdown and video.

 

 

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