Wright State (8-3) at (11) Cincinnati (11-0)
Saturday, December 22, 4 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Scott Haynes, College Basketball Senior Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Fifth Third Arena (13,176) -- Cincinnati, Ohio. Television: FSN-OH. Home Record: Wright St. 4-0, Cincinnati . Away Record: Wright St. 3-2, Cincinnati . Neutral Record: Wright St. 1-1, Cincinnati . Conference Record: Wright St. 0-0, Cincinnati 0-0. Series Record: Cincinnati leads, 8-0.
GAME NOTES: One of the few unbeatens left in the Division I ranks, the 11th- ranked Cincinnati Bearcats continue their quest for perfection, as they welcome the Wright State Raiders to Fifth Third Arena, for a non-conference showdown on Saturday.
Mick Cronin's Bearcats are one of eight teams left in the nation without a loss on the season. Cincinnati has certainly looked impressive in winning its first 11 games of the 2012-13 campaign, including a 60-45 victory over crosstown rival Xavier on Wednesday. With the win, UC is now 11-0 for the 10th time in school history.
Billy Donlon's Raiders are off to a strong start, albeit, not a flawless one. Wright State comes into this contest at a solid 8-3 overall, and brings a three-game win streak with it, following Wednesday's 67-59 victory over Miami- Ohio.
This is the ninth meeting in a series that has been all Cincinnati. The Bearcats have won all eight previous encounters, including a 78-58 rout at Wright State last season.
It was a sloppy game all around, as Wright State and Miami-Ohio combined for 50 fouls and 59 free-throw attempts, but in the end, WSU's 30-11 advantage from the charity stripe, as well as a 42-27 edge in rebounding proved to be too much for the RedHawks. Wright State won the game despite shooting a poor .340 from the field overall. Miles Dixon and Jerran Young provided the majority of the offense, with 21 and 19 points, respectively. The pair combined for 22 made free-throws in the game, going to the line 26 times. Cole Darling and JT Yoho were next in the scoring column for Wright State, with a mere six points apiece.
Defense has been a strength for Wright State this season, with the team limiting foes to just 55.8 ppg on an even 40 percent field-goal percentage. It has been a necessity really, as the offensive numbers have been far from encouraging, with WSU netting a mere 62.7 ppg this year on a modest .442 shooting. Darling leads the team in scoring and is one of two players in double figures with 12.9 ppg. Dixon is next in line at 10.8 ppg. Reggie Arceneaux is eager to join the pair with his 9.7 ppg.
Cincinnati trailed by two points at intermission against the Musketeers this week, but Sean Kilpatrick netted 18 second-half points to lead the Bearcats to a 15-point win over their rival. The win was the 18th in as many games at U.S. Bank Arena for Cincinnati. Kilpatrick ended with a game-high 25 points and was joined in double figures by Cashmere Wright and JaQuon Parker, who tallied 15 and 11 points, respectively.
The Bearcats have dominated at both ends of the floor this season and as a result enjoy an impressive +23.3 scoring margin. Cincinnati is averaging a robust 80.9 ppg, while holding foes to just 57.6 on under 35 percent shooting (.348 - seventh nationally). Kilpatrick has proved to be one of the most complete players in the Big East this season, averaging a robust 19.8 ppg, while also showing his ability to rebound (6.2 rpg) and play tough defense (2.0 steals per game). Wright (14.9 ppg, 3.6 apg) has the ability to fill up the basket as well. The two guards have combined for 59 of the team's 83 3- pointers to date. Parker (10.7 ppg) rounds out a potent backcourt trio.
Wright State will do its best to limit Cincinnati's effectiveness at the offensive end, but that is much easier said than done. With the way Kilpatrick is playing right now, along with a complete cast of solid role players, the Bearcats may not find themselves in loss column for some time.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cincinnati 69, Wright State 51
12/22 10:37:37 ET