17 – 3 Overall; 4 – 3 Big East (T-8th)
Going 13-0 in non-conference play would normally be held in higher regard. When those 13 wins include the likes of Mount St. Mary’s, Florida A&M, Savannah State, and Utah Valley State, among others, that mark loses its luster.
The Bearcats did look extremely impressive in beating two quality Atlantic 10 teams — Dayton and Xavier — at home. They gave up a laughably low 34 points to Dayton, and just 46 to Xavier, winning by 34 and 20 points, respectively.
Other than those two wins, however, there is little else to feel good about for Cincinnati. The only game they played outside the state of Ohio was against Oklahoma, who has been struggling all season. If the Bearcats wind up right at the .500 mark in the Big East, their non-conference weakness may damage their NCAA At-Large hopes.
Big East to date: C +
Cincinnati reached a 15 – 0 record thanks in part to their wins over DePaul and Seton Hall, both at home, to begin Big East play. From there, the schedule can only get tougher.
Cincinnati played respectably in an 11-point loss at Villanova, their first loss on the season. After another home win against another bottom-quarter team, South Florida, the Bearcats went on a difficult three-game road trip, facing Syracuse, Notre Dame, and St. John’s.
After losing the first two, the Bearcats were able to survive an ugly shooting affair against the Red Storm, winning by two. That win may be one of the more important ones they get this season.
Upcoming Schedule: B –
Cincinnati returns home to play two games this week, against Rutgers and West Virginia. The WVU game will be a very important one for both teams, who are vying to stay in the upper half of the league standings. The Bearcats have yet to lose at home this season, which may give them the slight edge against the Mountaineers.
After a week off, the Bearcats then have to play the toughest of all road tests — at Pittsburgh. While a win is unlikely, the Bearcats may have the interior defense to keep the game a closer, low-scoring affair. That would certainly help build some support from skeptics who have yet to see anything substantive from this team.