One of the greatest rivalries in all of sports will be renewed in the Cintas Center at high noon on Saturday as the no. 11-ranked Cincinnati Bearcats will make the short drive to battle the no. 21 Xavier Musketeers. This rivalry has only intensified over the last few years and this game features to teams capable of making long runs in the NCAA Tournament. Let’s take a look at Xavier vs Cincinnati.
Where: Cintas Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
When: Noon ET
Watch On: Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports Go
Last year saw the Cincinnati Bearcats prevail at home even though Xavier star Trevon Bluiett scored 40 points for the Musketeers. It’s a loss that still resonates with the Musketeers. Senior Sean O’Mara spoke about how he felt after the loss to Cincinnati last year, saying, “We all feel it regardless of what team it is. It’s not something we look forward to or want to experience often… The good thing is we have a chance to play them again… That part of it, there is always that chance for redemption, but at the same time, we’ve been counting down the days pretty much how many days it’s been since what happened last year.”
Can the Muskies exact the revenge they are looking for?
The Bearcats have yet to play a top 25 team, while on the other hand the Muskies have beaten Wisconsin at Wisconsin, and earlier this week they handled the Baylor Bears at the Cintas Center. You have to give the Muskies at least a small edge when it comes to being battle-tested.
Can the Bearcats contain Bluiett?
I say contain because shutting him down will be almost impossible, but if the Bearcats can limit him to say 20 points their chance to win will improve dramatically.
Can Xavier handle Cincinnati’s pressure defense?
The Bearcats year in and year out are one of the best defensive teams in the country. They will be in the Muskies face all game long and they will show multiple looks that will give Xavier fits. If the Muskies can keep their poise on offense they will win this game.
The Muskies are tough to beat at the Cintas and I look for Bluiett to have another big-game. That will carry the Muskies to a huge win.
Xavier 75 Cincinnati 69