No. 3 Houston will be out to defend its home court Saturday when it hosts Cincinnati in an AAC showdown on CBS. The Cougars suffered a stunning upset loss to Temple last Sunday in their final game at the Fertitta Center. The loss dropped Houston out of the top spot in the national rankings and dashed hopes of an undefeated run through AAC play in the program’s final season before heading to the Big 12.
Oddly enough, both of Houston’s losses have come at home this season, as the Cougars (19-2, 7-1 AAC) also suffered a 71-65 loss to Alabama at the Fertitta Center on Dec. 10. But if Cincinnati (14-7, 5-3) is going to become the third team to beat Houston this season, it will need a much stronger effort than it got in the first meeting between these teams.
The Cougars crushed Cincinnati 72-59 on Jan. 8 behind 21 points from freshman phenom Jarace Walker. However, it was the defense that carried the day for Houston, as the Cougars turned 17 Cincinnati turnovers into 26 points. By comparison, the Bearcats finished with just four points on seven Houston turnovers.
Houston has shown flashes of vulnerability in the weeks since that first meeting; The Cougars narrowly escaped with a win at South Florida on Jan. 11 and were bitten by a poor shooting night in the Temple loss. The Cougars got back on track Wednesday night with an 82-71 road win over a quality UCF team as redshirt freshman guard Emanuel Sharp had a career-high 18 points off the bench.
The Bearcats won three straight after their first meeting with Houston, but then had their streak snapped Sunday against Memphis in a 75-68 home loss. This team has made obvious strides under second-year coach Wes Miller, but has been plagued by turnovers and poor free throws at times.
How to watch Houston vs. Cincinnati live
Date: Saturday 28 January | Time: 2:15 p.m. ET
placement: Fertitta Center — Houston
TV: CBS | Live Streaming: CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App (Free)
Houston vs. Cincinnati prediction, election
Featured game | Houston Cougars vs. Cincinnati Bearcats
Houston’s tenacious defense rattled Cincinnati in the first meeting this month as the Cougars picked up the win, but the Bearcats won three straight after that and should be motivated to play a more composed game in the rematch. The Cougars have been surprisingly vulnerable at home this season. Both of their losses have come inside the Fertitta Center, and teams like UCF and South Florida have played Houston close there as well. Look for the Bearcats to hang around. Prediction: Cincinnati +14.5
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