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CBB – Memphis at Cincinnati (7:00 PM ET – ESPN2)

CBB – Memphis at Cincinnati (7:00 PM ET – ESPN2)

CBB – Memphis at Cincinnati (7:00 PM ET – ESPN2)

Before #2 ranked Memphis can look towards its showdown with Georgetown on Saturday


Before #2 ranked Memphis can look towards its showdown with Georgetown on Saturday, it must take care of business in a potentially dangerous game at former conference rival Cincinnati on Wednesday night. The Tigers are a big 14-point favorite but are just 1-4 SU in their L5 trips to the Queen City.

The Tigers play their first true road game of the season here. Memphis (8-0) has a much-anticipated matchup with No. 5 Georgetown set for Saturday. The Hoyas are 8-0 one season after reaching the Final Four - a destination the Tigers have fallen one game short of each of the last two seasons.

Before Memphis can worry about Georgetown, it will try to win nine straight to open a season for the first time since its school-record 20-0 start in 1985-86. The Tigers are also looking to extend their nine-game road winning streak from last season.

Winning at Cincinnati (4-5) shouldn't be the daunting task it once was when the Bearcats were a national power under former coach Bob Huggins. Cincinnati is one of only two Big East teams with losing records, along with DePaul, and has already suffered home losses to Belmont and Bowling Green.

While Memphis added freshman star Derrick Rose to a roster that returned all five starters from last season, Cincinnati continues to rebuild under second-year coach Mick Cronin. Last season, the Tigers scored the game's first 11 points and led by 31 at halftime in an 88-55 home win over the Bearcats on Jan. 4.

Memphis enters after two strong defensive performances. It limited then-No. 24 Southern California to 28.8 percent shooting in a 62-58 overtime win on Dec. 4, and held Middle Tennessee State to 27.1 percent shooting in a 65-41 victory on Saturday.

While the defense has been outstanding, Memphis has failed to make perimeter shots against opponents' zone defenses. The Tigers are shooting just under 22 percent (9-for-41) on 3-pointers in the last two games.

Although Cincinnati has lost three straight, it played fairly well in a 64-59 loss to then-No. 17 and city rival Xavier on Wednesday. Cronin was encouraged that his team held a 43-38 rebounding edge in a game that it led with just over three minutes to go.

Bearcats forward Marvin Gentry was taken off the court on a neck board as a precaution after he ran into teammate Deonta Vaughn's knee while going for a loose ball in the second half. Gentry, fourth on the team with 7.8 points per game, is expected to play Wednesday.

Memphis is backed by a powerful StatFox Super Situation tonight. It reads…
Play On - Road favorites of 10 or more points (MEMPHIS) - good defensive team - allowing <=64 points/game on the season, after allowing 25 points or less in the first half last game. (97-54 since 1997.) (64.2%, +37.6 units. Rating = 2*)

Plus, Cincinnati is just 12-23 ATS protecting the home court over the last three seasons.

If Memphis can avoid looking ahead to Saturday’s game, there’s no reason they shouldn’t leave Cincinnati with an easy win.

Tip time is 7:00 PM ET on ESPN2.

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