Cincinnati wasn't particularly pleased with its effort the last two games despite pulling out overtime wins and looks to put forth a better performance when vastly improved South Florida pays a visit for an American Athletic Conference matchup Tuesday. The Bearcats allowed 14 makes from 3-point range in a 70-65 win at Tulsa on Thursday and were outrebounded at home in the 74-72 triumph against Connecticut two days later.
"We don't want to compete," Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin told reporters. "We want to flash our (Cincinnati) badge and think teams are going to run the other way. Nobody's running anywhere." Cronin said the toughest thing about his team Saturday was the home crowd that pulled it through, but the Bearcats have still won three of four to start the conference season as they prepare to take on a USF team that already boasts two more wins than it accumulated all of last season. The Bulls came close to matching Cincinnati in the standings, rallying from a 14-point halftime deficit to tie before falling 82-80 in overtime at Temple on Saturday despite a triple-double from junior guard Laquincy Rideau. "I thought we did some good things, but not enough good on the road to beat a quality team," USF coach Brian Gregory told reporters. "We have to do some things better in order to win some games on the road, but it was a great game with tough kids out there playing every possession."
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ABOUT USF (12-4, 2-2 AAC): Rideau, a transfer from Gardner-Webb, finished with 18 points, 10 assists and 10 steals against Temple for USF's first triple-double since 2006, when McHugh Mattis turned the trick. Sophomore guard David Collins leads the team in scoring (14.6), but is shooting just 38.6 percent from the field overall, and Rideau is second at 13.9 points per game to go along with a league-best 5.8 assists. Sophomore forward Alexis Yetna averages a double-double (12.8 points, 10.8 rebounds) and is scoring 16 while grabbing 11.3 rebounds per contest over his last six outings.
ABOUT CINCINNATI (14-3, 3-1): Junior guard Jarron Cumberland is sixth in the AAC in scoring (16.9) after averaging 19 in league play, and third in 3-point shooting percentage (44.0) despite making just 5-of-18 the last three games. Sophomore guard Keith Williams is the only other player averaging in double figures for scoring (11.2) and shoots 50.3 percent from the field. Junior forward Tre Scott must rebound from a tough game against UConn (1-of-7 shooting, one rebound) and junior center Nysier Brooks hopes to build off a 17-point effort (6-of-8 shooting) against the Huskies.
1. USF sophomore G Justin Brown is averaging just 4.5 points in league play after coming in at 9.3 per game.
2. Cincinnati senior G Justin Jenifer is averaging 10 points in the first four AAC games, 2.1 above his season mark.
3. The Bearcats have won the last nine meetings, including a 78-55 triumph at USF last season.
PREDICTION: Cincinnati 70, USF 62 Bet Now
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