Cincinnati faces arguably their toughest challenge today, as they take on Xavier in the Crosstown Shootout (at the Cintas Center). Both teams have been relatively similar so far, by Pomeroy’s rating. Xavier is ranked 80th in adjusted offensive efficiency, and 20th in defense. Cincy is ranked 143 on offense, but 28th defensively.
UC should get a bit of a test on the glass, with 6-9 Jason Love and 6-8 Jamel Mclean leading the way for Xavier (combining for 17 boards per game), but Cincy should still at least hold their own in rebounding.
I think the game will come down to how the Cats play from three-point land, both offensively and defensively. Cincy has shot just 29% from three so far, and they’ve allowed opponents to shoot 34% from long range. Xavier is ranked 7th in the country, knocking down 44.5% of their three point attempts. However, opponents shoot almost 36% against them.
If Cincinnati can finally knock down some threes, and if they can defend Xavier well on the perimeter (a tough task), they should be in great position to pull of a huge road win. If not, well, it could be a long night.
Either way, it will be a fun one tonight, as it always is when these two teams do battle. Let’s go Cincy!