Cincinnati would like to be known for two things this season: its relentless trap defense and unparalleled balance on the offensive end. The 13th-ranked Bearcats have been sensational in both aspects through their first two games, and will look to continue building on that as they host Coppin State on Thursday night.
Cincinnati steamrolled Western Carolina 102-51 on Monday, using its vaunted press to force 22 turnovers while keeping the Catamounts from reaching double digits until after the halfway point of the opening half. “I’m happy with way we defended,” coach Mick Cronin told reporters after the game. “We did a good job of staying focused and not looking at the scoreboard and maintaining our defense and our principles.” Seven players had eight or more points for the Bearcats, led by Jarron Cumberland’s 20. Coppin State is looking for its first win of the season after getting trounced 76-50 at East Carolina on Sunday.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Ohio, ESPN3
ABOUT COPPIN STATE (0-2): The Eagles’ offense has come out flat to kick off a season-opening stretch that will see them play 14 of their first 16 games away from Baltimore. Coppin State is averaging just 52 points through its first two games - good for 338th out of 346 qualified teams - and its 6.5 assists-per-game average ranks ahead of only eight other Division I schools. Sophomore guard Dejuan Clayton (10.5 points per game) is the only Eagles player averaging double figures in scoring, but that’s due primarily to shot volume; he’s just 5-of-20 from the field while connecting on 3-of-13 attempts beyond the arc.
ABOUT CINCINNATI (2-0): Here’s one way of putting the Bearcats’ offensive dominance into proper perspective: Cincinnati’s bench is averaging a whopping 51 points per game so far, just one point fewer than the entire Coppin State roster. Coming off its first back-to-back triple-digit scoring performances since the 2011-12 season, seven Bearcats players average at least 8.5 points, led by junior transfer Cane Broome (16 points per game). Cincinnati entered Wednesday’s action ranked fourth in the nation in total rebounds (112) and fifth in rebounds per game (56).
1. The Bearcats have won 28 consecutive home games, the second-longest active streak in Division I behind Oregon’s 43-game run.
2. Entering Wednesday, Cincinnati’s plus-40.5 average scoring margin ranks fourth among teams that have played more than one game.
3. Coppin State is shooting 26.3 percent from the field, the third-worst mark among Division I teams.
PREDICTION: Cincinnati 104, Coppin State 54