The Cincinnati Bearcats (10-2) are on a four game win streak and need to keep up the momentum if they want to upset the Memphis Tigers (7-3) on their home court.
The Bearcats and the Tigers have long been rivals on the hardwood but are now on opposite paths. UC has been resurgent after the tough loss in the Cross-Town Shootout winning their last four games while the Tigers posted an uninspired performance against Drexel after losing to another Big East foe Syracuse.
But don't think the Tigers will let their guard down. The Bearcats will have their hands full with four of the Tigers averaging double digits in scoring. Memphis is lead by guard Tyreke Evans a 6-foot-6 freshman guard out of Chester, PA who averages 15.4 points-per-game. For the Bearcats to be successful they will have to tighten up their defense enough to slow Evans down.
A key match-up inside will be the Bearcats hometown hero 6-foot-9, 255 pound freshman Yancy Gates who will be asked to square off will off with Memphis' 6-foot-10, 238 pound junior Shawn Taggart. Taggart averages 12.5 points and 9.6 rebounds per game and will be Gates biggest test so far in his career.
But Gates can't do it alone as the Bearcats need 7-foot center Anthony McClain to step up. The big man has yet to find his groove on the boards or in the scorers column, but his ability to block and alter shots could play a major factor and help the Bearcats down low.
Junior guard Deonta Vaughn has been in good form averaging 15.1 points and 4.8 assists. His match-up against Tyreke Evans will play a big role in the outcome of the game. If Vaughn can force a couple of turnovers and find the rhythm to get his jump shot hitting early the Bearcats could have a legitimate shot of pulling off the upset.
Tipoff is at 9 PM on Monday (12/29) in Memphis. The Bearcats will next travel to Marquette on January 4th.
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