Where: Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
When: 3:45pm EST
Records: OSU 8-1; UC 7-2
Opponent: The Cincinnati Bearcats head to Conseco Fieldhouse riding a modest two game winning streak after going on the road to defeat Temple last Saturday followed up by a 67-57 victory over Xavier in the annual Crosstown Shootout Wednesday night. Freshman Deonta Vaughn led UC with 24 points and John Williamson chipped in 18 points and 8 rebounds. The Bearcats committed only 8 turnovers while forcing 17 and held 'X' to only 24% on threes. I donâ€™t know much about these guys since they are too weak to be televised outside of I-275 but a double digit victory is guaranteed against this Big East foe. They look athletic but their overall skill level wonâ€™t be what OSU brings to the table. The only downside to this sure-fire victory is that it wonâ€™t come against former drunkâ€¦.err, uh Head Coach Bob â€˜Chugginâ€™ Huggins who, after getting axed from UC, finally landed at Kansas State. UC is now led by first year head coach Mick Cronin, a UC alum, who took the job after leading Murray State to the NCAA Tourney two out of three years.
Key Players: 6â€™1â€ Guard Deonta Vaughn leads the team in points (16.6), assists (4.4), free throw percentage (82%) and 3-pointers made with 22. Not bad for a freshman. The Bearcats also boast 6â€™6â€ junior John Williamson who is the man on the baseline averaging 16 points and 8.1 rebounds per contest. He easily leads the team in FG% (57%) and will step out and shoot an occasional three (52%). UC shows some size with 6â€™7â€ Cedric McGowan (9.9pts, 6.6reb) and 6â€™8â€ Marcus Sikes (9.4pts, 5.8reb) playing 30 minutes per game.
Notes: Cedric McGowan is UCâ€™s only returning starterâ€¦One of the Bearcatsâ€™ two losses came against Wofford, yeah thatâ€™s right, Wofford back on Nov. 21â€¦Vaughn had 33 points in the loss including 9/17 from 3-point landâ€¦Cincy has had four different players record at least 10 rebounds in a game this seasonâ€¦Former UC player Jonathon Carson was shot and killed last week while committing a home invasion with another manâ€¦Carson played in 17 games during the â€™97-98 season averaging 3.1 points.
Buckeye Breakdown: The #4 ranked Buckeyes issued a 78-57 beatdown to Cleveland State last Saturday in Greg Odenâ€™s first start. Gorgeous Greg scored 16 points on 8-8 shooting in 22 minutes. The manchild will need to stay out of foul trouble so he can see more minutes this week. Mike Conley Jr. continued his stellar point guard play chipping in 12 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists while Ivan Harris recorded a career high 10 rebounds. The real story, however, was Othello Hunterâ€™s emergence with 17 points and 11 boards in just 13 minutes. A large chunk of those minutes came in tandem with Oden giving OSU a formidable duo on the low blocks. The UC contest will hopefully be a bounce back game for 11W favorite, Daequan Cook, who was held to just 6 points on 2-4 shooting after picking up two early fouls last week. It would also be nice to see Jamar Butler get a little more involved in the offense and get a confidence booster heading in to the big time showdown at Florida next Saturday. This is also an important game for Matt Turdwiggler after his 18 minute, 0 rebound gem against CSU.
Key Players: Oden is obviously the key as it will be important for him to stay on the floor and out of foul trouble against an athletic and aggressive, although lesser talented, UC squad. Mike Conley Jr. will need to direct the offense as OSU continues getting accustomed to playing off Oden in the post and make Vaughn work at the defensive end of the floor. Look for leading scorer Ron Lewis (16.8 ppg) to get involved early after taking just 5 shots versus CSU.
Notes: Oden became the first OSU freshman to record a double-double in his first game since Herb Williams in 1977â€¦Conley Jr. is 12th in the nation in assists (6.4) per game and leads the conference in steals per game (2.67)â€¦Matta was 2-1 against UC during his stint at Xavierâ€¦UC and OSU last played in the regular season back on December 10, 1921â€¦UC won 33-17 in Columbusâ€¦Next up for the Buckeyes: Iowa State on 12/19.