Is Cincinnati For Real?

        At 15-0, Cincinnati is one of just seven remaining unbeatens in the country and off to their best start 1998-98. That year, the Bearcats won their first 15 games, including an upset of No. 1-ranked Duke, en route to a fourth straight C-USA regular-season crown.

        An off-night from Xavier's Tu Holloway/physical defense from Cincinnati, combined with Bearcat forward Yancy Gates' career night with 22 points, 14 rebounds and a pair of blocks, Cincinnati easily moved on from 14-0 to get number 15. They held the Musketeers to 39.1% shooting from the floor and just one made 3-pointer in 10 attempts. As a team, Xavier had only 4 assists and 13 turnovers as Holloway forced shot-after-shot.

        Their latest win over cross-town rival Xavier was their best of the season, but the road ahead doesn't look so promising for Cincinnati. Villanova in Philadelphia later this week, followed by USF at home and then Syracuse, Notre Dame and St. John's (winners of five in a row themselves) all on the road. They've got a tough schedule, but who doesn't in the Big East?

        They have a solid overall team, not spectacular, but if they can get the ball inside to Gates with some efficient guard play from Dion Dixon and Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati could make there way into the Tournament. Unfortunately, if they struggle in conference play, they don't have a non-conference resume to fall back on- their schedule ranks 326th in the country in the RPI's strength of schedule.

By President Corey Ruff - 1-6-11