Preview: Rutgers at Cincinnati
Updated On: Jan 10 2014 03:47:43 AM CST
Cincinnati looks to remain the lone unbeaten in the American Athletic Conference when it hosts Rutgers on Saturday night. The Bearcats improved to 3-0 in league play for the first time under coach Mick Cronin with a 61-60 win at Houston on Tuesday, surviving a near-collapse that saw them lose most of a 19-point second-half lead. Sean Kilpatrick led the way with 17 points but made only 1-of-8 3-pointers as Cincinnati overcame a poor shooting performance (36.7 percent) for the second time in three AAC games.While the Bearcats have won despite issues on the offensive end, Rutgers has run into its problems when it cannot stop opponents from scoring. The Scarlet Knights put forth a solid effort in an 83-76 loss to Louisville last Saturday but saw the Cardinals march to the line for 46 free-throw attempts and could not complete a rally attempt. Cincinnati owns a 14-4 advantage in the series between the former Big East foes.TV: 6 p.m. ET, CBS Sports NetworkABOUT RUTGERS (7-8, 1-1 AAC): The Scarlet Knights have not played a road game since Dec. 4, going 3-3 during their long stretch at home. Leading scorer Myles Mack scored in double digits in each game of the homestand after doing so in just three of his previous six games, and produced 34 assists after amassing 32 in his first nine contests. However, Mack has made two 3-pointers in 12 attempts over his last three games for a Rutgers squad that's 8-of-29 from beyond the arc in AAC play.ABOUT CINCINNATI (14-2, 3-0): Kilpatrick has been the constant for the Bearcats and should be in AAC Player of the Year discussions, but the senior has hit a bit of a snag from the perimeter, making 3-of-23 3-pointers over his last four games. Cincinnati has managed to get by on the strength of its superior defense, which has recorded a league-high eight blocks a game, as well as 11 steals, which ranks second. The Bearcats entered the weekend ranked sixth nationally in scoring defense (56.3) and have held opponents under 70 points in 22 consecutive games, the longest run in the country.TIP-INS1. Seven of Rutgers' last eight games have been decided by seven points or fewer. 2. Cincinnati F Jermaine Saunders is 6-for-10 from long range in league play.3. Kilpatrick scored 19 points and Mack had 15 in the most recent meeting, last season's 62-54 comeback win for the Bearcats.PREDICTION: Cincinnati 68, Rutgers 61
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