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Gameday Capsule: Cincinnati at No. 18 MSU

 

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Cincinnati (9-1) at No. 18 MSU (8-1) 

 

BROADCAST INFO: 7:30 p.m. on SEC Network. 

 

CINCINNATI's LAST 5: W 71-57 vs. Ole Miss (neutral), W 105-49 vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff, W 65-61 at UNLV, W 78-65 vs. Northern Kentucky, W 62-47 vs. Xavier. 

 

MSU's LAST 5: W 61-57 vs. Saint Mary's (neutral), W 88-65 vs. Alcorn State, W 65-58 at Dayton, W 90-77 vs. McNeese State, W 82-71 vs. Clemson (neutral). 

 

CINCINNATI's RESUMÉ: This reminds me a lot of the football team that loses its big season-opener, then completely falls from the public eye and quietly pieces together a solid season after it while no one's paying attention. The Bearcats took a downright strange loss to start the season, losing at home to an Ohio State team that has meager expectations (but that's changed); since then, the Bearcats have won nine straight, two of them against top 75 KenPom teams (Ole Miss and Xavier), one game on the road (UNLV) and two on neutral courts (George Mason and Ole Miss). This remains one of the best teams in the nation by any measure, evidenced by holding KenPom's 29th-best offense (Xavier) to 47 points in their last game. 

 

CINCINNATI PROJECTED STARTERS 

 

G 3 Justin Jenifer, Sr., 5'10", 175 -- 7 ppg, 4.3 apg, 10-12 from the free throw line, 24 of his 48 field goal attempts are from 3-point range (45.8 percent from deep). 

 

G 2 Keith Williams, Soph., 6'5", 210 -- 10.7 ppg, 4 rpg (team leader with 1.9 offensive rpg), 1.2 spg, 48.8 percent from the field but 27.8 percent from 3. 

 

G 34 Jarron Cumberland, Jr., 6'5", 205 -- 15.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 3.2 apg, 44 percent from 3 on team-high 50 attempts, 1.3 spg. 

 

F 13 Trevon Scott, R-Jr., 6'8", 225 -- 10.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 53.8 percent from the field, all but 6 of his 78 field goal attempts have been 2-pointers, 8 steals and 8 blocks in 10 games. 

 

C 33 Nysier Brooks, Jr., 6'11", 240 -- 7.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.4 bpg, 60.9 percent from the field but only 4.6 shots per game, by far the fewest minutes of the starting five (21.9 minutes per game). 

 

MISSISSIPPI STATE PROJECTED STARTERS 

 

G 1 Lamar Peters, Jr., 6'0", 185 -- 14.2 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 5.6 apg (fifth in the SEC), 45.4 percent from the field and 43.5 percent from 3, 16 of his 30 made 3-pointers have come in the last two games. 

 

G 0 Nick Weatherspoon, Soph., 6'2", 195 -- 10.1 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.6 apg, 7 steals in 9 games, 47.7 percent from the field and 55 percent from 3, season high 6 assists in last game. 

 

G 11 Quinndary Weatherspoon, Sr., 6'4", 205 -- 16.8 ppg, 5 rpg (1.8 offensive rpg), 2.6 apg, 1.8 spg, 49.2 percent from the field but 27.8 percent from 3-point range, 20 or more points in 2 of his last 3 games. 

 

F 35 Aric Holman, Sr., 6'10", 225 -- 10.7 ppg, 8.6 rpg (2.5 offensive rpg), 1 spg, 2.1 bpg (sixth in the SEC), 16 points in the Clemson game put him in double-digits for the first time in 4 games. 

 

F 24 Abdul Ado, R-Soph., 6'11", 255 -- 5.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg (2.1 offensive rpg), 2.1 bpg, 57.7 percent from the field, has taken more than 5 shots in a game only once this year. 

 

QUOTE: "They do a phenomenal job of contesting every shot, pressuring the ball." -Ben Howland 

 

Aric Holman: "We're playing pretty good (defensively), we're playing well enough to win, but we still have strides. I think we can get way better to show what we can do." 

 

NOTES: KenPom gives MSU a 66 percent chance of winning this game with a projected final score of 67-62....As the numbers above suggest, Cincinnati clearly has its man in Jarron Cumberland: his usage rate is just outside of the top 100 in the nation....MSU has the 26th-best offense in the nation according to KenPom; Cincinnati has the nation;'s 18th-best defense....The Bearcats are 29th in the nation in KenPom right now, but there are five SEC teams currently ahead of them. 

 

Follow Dispatch sports writer Brett Hudson on Twitter @Brett_Hudson

 

 

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