The Miami (OH) Redhawks play host to the Cincinnati Bearcats on Wednesday night from Millett Hall in an in-state showdown between up and coming programs. The Bearcats ran out to a quick 5-0 start but have dropped back-to-back games coming into the mid-week tilt. For the Redhawks, it's been a historic start but a loss the last time out has tempered expectations. The two teams have a deep history but haven't faced off against each other since 2011, with the Bearcats taking the last five matchups. In what could be the first game back in the return to the rivalry, fans for both teams will be locked in with bragging rights on the line.
Bearcats Look To Snap SkidThe last few seasons have been below par for the Cincinnati program but a new coaching staff has quickly injected some new life into the program. The Bearcats raced out to a 5-0 start to start the season, highlighted by wins over Georgia and Illinois, but two losses the last two times out have painted a dark picture. The loss to Arkansas was understandable but the two-point loss to Monmouth seemed to put the team back to where they were last season. Going on the road for their first true road game is sure to be an interesting matchup and tough outlook but the Bearcats certainly won't back down.
The Bearcats will be without AJ McGinnis (ankle), as he is expected to be out through mid-December. While not a massive miss, as a depth piece he could play a nice role, especially against the Redhawks.
"That's what we do!"— Cincinnati Men’s Hoops (@GoBearcatsMBB) November 23, 2021
Look back at last night's win––a 71-51 comeback over #14 Illinois. pic.twitter.com/6gJVguBmih
Cincinnati's offense finds itself right in the middle of the road when it comes to scoring, averaging 71.9 points per game this far. The struggle has been their three-point shooting, at only 28.8 percent, and will need to improve on that to keep pace with the Redhawks.
David DeJulius leads the way in scoring, at only 12.7 ppg, and needs to improve on his scoring in order for the Bearcats to find some success. The only other double-digit scorer is Jeremiah Davenport (10.7 ppg) and until they find some more scoring consistency in the rotation, finding wins might become more and more of a challenge.
The defense gives some hope for optimism though, especially as Miami (OH) comes in yet to have seen a strong defense. The Bearcats rank 29th in points allowed per game and their rim protection and frontcourt has been a big reason for that success. They rank 87th nationally in total rebounds per game and 19th in blocks. If they can control the paint on both ends, they can control the game.
Redhawks Off To Fast StartMiami (OH) has had one of the easiest schedules to start the season and while wins against Stetson and Lamar don't exactly move the needle, their opening win against Georgia Tech is an impressive victory. The issue is that two of their three games have come against non-division 1 opponents and just as the schedule is starting to heat up, it's been quite some time since the Redhawks had been tested. Picked to finish seventh in the preseason MAC poll, the Redhawks know that a win over Cincinnati for the first time in well over a decade, come give them just the confidence and momentum they need. It helps that Miami (OH) comes in completely healthy as well and the consistency in the rotation should help.
The Redhawks come in with one of the nation's best offenses thus far but it'll be interesting to see how they fare against one of the nation's top defenses. They rank inside the top 100 in nearly every offensive category, peaking at 17th in points per game. They play at a high pace, which should serve as an advantage. They're also shooting over 35 percent from three-point range and nearly 50 percent from the field. The Redhawks have four double-digit scorers, led by Dae Dae Grant at 17.8 points per game, and have the depth to give Cincinnati trouble.
While the offense has been the talk of the town, the defense remains top 100 in their own right. They rank 88th nationally in scoring defense and have the ability to go toe-to-toe with Cincinnati's frontcourt, at least on paper. The fast pace should play into their hands and if they can force the issue, they should be able to get some easy buckets in transition.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Redhawks might be playing strong basketball heading into Wednesday's game but their lack of quality in the schedule is sure to prove to be problematic. The Bearcats have been tested already this season and have proven themselves against some quality opponents already on the season and going on the road to Miami (OH) will be far from anything they've seen already on neutral courts this season. Miami (OH) has a strong offense but the Bearcats are built to slow down their opponents on Wednesday and their advantage in the frontcourt is massive. Additionally, according to covers.com, for Miami (OH), they are 1-4-1 ATS in their last six games following a straight-up loss and are 2-7-1 in their last ten games against a team with a winning straight up record.
Full-Game Total Pick
Miami (OH) might have one of the best offenses in the country coming into Wednesday night but their light schedule has certainly skewed their scoring output. Now that they'll be facing the Bearcats, who boast some nice performances of their own on the season, the scoring should definitely come back down. Both of these defenses are ranked in the top 90 in scoring defense nationally and the brute strength and physicality should have a big impact on the scoring output for both teams. Additionally, according to covers.com, for Cincinnati, the under is 4-0 in their last four games overall and is 4-0 in their last four games against a team with a winning percentage above .600. For Miami (OH), the under is 4-0 in their last four games against a team with a winning record and is 6-2 in their last eight home games against a team with a road winning percentage of less than .400.