Expert Cappers Picks
Men's College Basketball
Central Florida at Cincinnati
When: 7:00 PM ET, Thursday, February 21, 2019
Where: Fifth Third Arena, Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati made it back into the USA Today coaches poll this week, earning the final spot at No. 25 along with Maryland following Sunday's 72-62 victory over Wichita State. The Bearcats remain at home for their next test, as Central Florida comes to town Thursday looking to move into a tie with Cincinnati for second place in the American Athletic Conference.

The Knights are in this position thanks to a three-game winning streak that included avenging one of their three conference setbacks as they hung on to defeat Memphis 79-72 on Saturday. "There's a desperation," UCF coach Johnny Dawkins told reporters after the game. "Everyone's playing with so much on the line. Everybody's competing. Everybody's fighting and clawing, and that's what you expect. I'm excited that our guys were able to overcome." The Bearcats showed their own determination in winning their 14th straight game at home, overcoming a poor shooting (34.5 percent) and rebounding (42-51) performance to gut out the win against Wichita State, helping erase some of the disappointment from their 65-58 loss to Houston a week earlier. "We've got to improve finishing around the basket," coach Mick Cronin told the media. "That was the glaring weakness in this game and the Houston game. This time of year, you can't look for whistles. When you get the ball around the rim, you've got to score or get fouled."

TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2

ABOUT UCF (19-5, 9-3 American): The Knights have had three different leading scorers during their current three-game winning streak, with guard Aubrey Dawkins leading the way with a season-high 26 points against SMU, center Tacko Fall finishing with a season-best 21 points against South Florida and guard B.J. Taylor racking up 25 against Memphis. It was Taylor's ninth 20-point outing of the season and his third in the last five games, but Cincinnati may be even more concerned with the exploits of Fall (10.6 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.68 blocks) - who at 7-6 has seven inches on the tallest Bearcat. The Knights, who are off to their best 24-game start since 2003-04, are 19-0 when leading with two minutes left on the clock and 0-5 when tied or trailing.

ABOUT CINCINNATI (21-4, 10-2): Star guard Jarron Cumberland carried the Bearcats to victory against Wichita State, scoring 27 points (8-of-20) for the second straight game as he nailed a career-high six (of 10) from 3-point range for a sizzling 60 percent from long distance. It was the 24th time this season that Cumberland led the team in scoring, but fellow guards Keith Williams (15) and Cane Broome (12) also finished in double figures. The defense harassed Wichita State into connecting on just 26.8 percent from the field, only the second time the Bearcats held an American opponent below 40 percent shooting from the floor (36.8 percent against Tulane), and now the Bearcats face the league's top shooting team (46.8 percent).


1. Cincinnati has lost to UCF just once, owning a 10-1 series lead after sweeping last season's two meetings.

2. Bearcats G Justin Jenifer ranks fourth in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (4.22).

3. UCF is 15-0 when it wins the rebounding battle.

PREDICTION: UCF 71, Cincinnati 69
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Neutral Day Night Conf
Central Florida 19-5 W3 13-2 3-3 3-0 8-3 11-2 9-3
Cincinnati 21-4 W1 14-1 5-3 2-0 6-2 15-2 10-2
Last Meeting
Central Florida Cincinnati
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
2/6/18 UCF 40 CIN 77 40 28 28.3 77 45 39.4
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Central Florida C. DeJesus 12 57.1 4
Cincinnati T. Moore 14 57.1 4
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Central Florida C. McSpadden 6 1 5
Cincinnati T. Scott 8 3 5
Assists Player  
Central Florida A. Davis 2
Cincinnati C. Broome 5
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Central Florida B. Taylor 405 40.7 146
Cincinnati J. Cumberland 482 42.1 113
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Central Florida T. Fall 167 54 113
Cincinnati T. Scott 159 48 111
Assists Player  
Central Florida T. Allen 96
Cincinnati J. Cumberland 87
Quickchart Matchup
blue bar Central Florida Off vs  red bar Cincinnati Defense
blue bar 73.6 Points For
red bar 61.8 Points Against
blue bar 46.8 FG%
red bar 40.2 FG%
blue bar 32.6 Reb
red bar 27.3 Reb
red bar Cincinnati Off vs  blue bar Central Florida Defense
red bar 74.0 Points For
blue bar 64.9 Points Against
red bar 44.6 FG%
blue bar 39.6 FG%
red bar 33.2 Reb
blue bar 30.4 Reb