Cincinnati Bearcats vs UCF Knights

Jarron Cumberland and his Cincinnati Bearcats travel down to Florida to take on B.J. Taylor and his newly ranked UCF Knights in a matchup of top three American Athletic Conference schools. The game will air on ESPN2 on Thursday, March 7th at 7 pm EST from CFE Arena in Orlando.

How to Watch

Where: CFE Arena in Orlando, FL, USA.

When: Thursday, March 7th at 7pm EST.

How (TV/Radio): ESPN2

Cincinnati Bearcats (Away)

Head Coach: Mick Cronin {Overall: 25-4, .862 W-L% | Conference: 14-2, T-1st in AAC}

Closing out the regular season as a virtual lock for the NCAA tournament, the Bearcats come to Orlando looking to secure their first win over a ranked opponent this season. Many bracket pundits have Cincinnati as a 7 seed, a position that Mick Cronin would love to improve with two ranked opponents left before the conference tournament.

Thursday's game against the Knights will be the second leg of the season series, as the Bearcats won the first match-up on February 21st at Fifth Third Arena. Cincinnati prevailed over UCF 60-55 as guards Keith Williams and Justin Jenifer shared the scoring lead with 12 points each. Despite shooting just 40% from the field, the Bearcats were stronger on the glass, winning the rebound battle 25-19.

Cincinnati is coming off a home win against Memphis on March 2nd. Leading scorer Jarron Cumberland powered the Bearcats with 26 points on 13 of 16 shooting from the charity stripe, while junior center Nysier Brooks had a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds.

UCF Knights (Home)

Head Coach: Johnny Dawkins {Overall: 22-6, .786 W-L% | Conference: 12-4, 3rd in AAC}

B.J. Taylor Tacko Fall and three of their fellow seniors will be playing their final home game at CFE Arena, in what has amounted to be the best season of their careers. Ranked in the AP poll for the first time since the 2010-2011 season, the Knights are making a strong case to be included in the March Madness field.

UCF will look to hold home court on Senior Night and avenge their earlier loss to Cincinnati. Redshirt junior Aubrey Dawkins had 18 points in the losing effort, while Taylor had a measly 12 points on 4 of 14 shooting from the field, and 2 of 8 from three-point range.

The Knights will carry a great deal of momentum, as they are coming off a 69-64 road win at then-8th ranked Houston on March 2nd. Redshirt sophomore center Collin Smith led the way with 21 points, while 7-6 giant Tacko Fall had a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Cincinnati Roster Notes

The Bearcats have no injury or other roster news to report.

UCF Roster Notes

There is no injury or roster news to report for the Knights.

Head-to-Head: Keith Williams vs Aubrey Dawkins

Keith Williams

Shooting Guard | 6-5, 210lb (196cm, 95kg) | Bishop Loughlin Memorial HS | Brooklyn, NY | Sophomore

10.9 PPG | 1.1 APG | 3.3 RPG | 1.2 SPG | 0.9 BPG | 1.4 TOV | .457 FG% | .294 3P%

Aubrey Dawkins

Shooting Guard | 6-6, 205lb (198cm, 92kg) | New Hampton Prep (NH) | Durham, NC | Redshirt Junior

15.1 PPG | 1.3 APG | 5.0 RPG | 1.0 SPG | 0.4 BPG | 1.5 TOV | .461 FG% | .391 3P%

The matchup to focus on in this game will be between the secondary scoring options of each team. Both wing players have proven to be able to provide bursts of offense when the primary option is struggling, which has given their respective coaches an additional threat to add to their offensive game plans.

After a ho-hum freshman season, Keith Williams has emerged as the second option behind Jarron Cumberland for Cincinnati. Williams has more than tripled his scoring output from the previous season and has improved on his 14% three-point shooting clip from a year ago. His performance against power conference foes Xavier and UCLA, where he had 16 and 19 points respectively, shows that he is capable of hanging with higher levels of competition, which bodes well come tournament time.

Like Williams, Aubrey Dawkins has played second fiddle to one of the best players in school history in B.J. Taylor. The son of head coach Johnny Dawkins started his career with the Michigan Wolverines before coming to Orlando after his father took the Knights coaching job. The North Carolina native has been a consistent source of offense behind Taylor, failing to reach double digits just twice all season, while contributing five 20+ point performances.

Cincinnati at UCF Predictions and Odds

This game is predicted to be a close one, with oddsmakers favoring UCF by 2.5 points at home against Cincinnati. The over/under for the game is currently at 126

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