The Cardiac Cats are back. Whether you enjoy 30 point blowouts or not, close games are always exciting. This year seems to have no shortage of heart-stopping action as each game presents a new challenge to be conquered.
Tonight, the Bearcats face off against the Memphis Tigers and have the opportunity to assert their dominance in Fifth Third Arena. The Tigers have gone on a roll as of late, winning five out of their last six matchups.
Led by Senior guard Jeremiah Martin, who averages 19.4 points per game and 4.4 assists, have no shortage of offensive ability. Memphis leads the league with 83.8 points per game, but Cincinnati shut down the Tigers’ offense in a 69-64 win. Although the Tigers are more than able to light up the scoreboard on any given night, their defense has struggled under Penny Hardaway as they have given up 75.7 points per game, which ranks ninth in the conference.
The Bearcats have the opportunity to get a quality win at home before starting a tough two game stretch to end the regular season. Coming off of a 52-49 slugfest victory against SMU, Cincinnati is beaten and bruised, while teams have shut down the Jarron Cumberland show. In his past three games, Cumberland is only averaging 10.3 points per game, while most of his points scored have come in the final minutes. Good players know how to take over games, but Cumberland needs higher efficiency with his shooting and has to create separation off the ball.
Cincinnati hasn’t blown out a team by more than fifteen points since early January, but have the chance to take charge and physically dismantle a Memphis team fighting to gain a first round bye in the AAC tournament. UC will have to lockdown Memphis defensively, but watch out for Cumberland as he is due for a breakout game. Cincinnati needs to keep pace with Houston for a chance to win the AAC regular season, but a win tonight, and Thursday in Orlando, will set up a big time matchup next Sunday against the Cougars.