CINCINNATI (9-3) AT NO. 22 PITTSBURGH (11-3)
Time/TV: 7 p.m./FSN
Location: Peterson Event Center
Line: Pitt -6
Cincinnati Players to Watch: F Sean Kilpatrick, So. (15.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg); G Dion Dixon, Sr. (13.3 ppg, 3.9 ppg); PG Cashmere Wright, Jr. (11.7 ppg, 5.1 apg). Wright has been outstanding with Yancy Gates suspended.
Pitt Players to Watch: SG Ashton Gibbs, Sr. (16.9 ppg, 3.4 apg); PF Nasir Robinson, Sr. (12.5 ppg, 65.5% FG); G Dante Taylor, Jr. (7.9 ppg, 63.6% FG). Gibbs and Robinson have been steady and consistent. The talented Taylor may be the key to the Panthers turning around their recent fortunes.
Storylines: Unlike Xavier, Cincinnati has thrived since losing Yancy Gates and Chekh Mbodj to suspensions following its brawl with the Musketeers. Sean Kilpatrick and Cashmere Wright have been exceptional during the Bearcats’ 5-game winning streak. Meanwhile, Pitt has struggled without PG Travon Woodall, including back-to-back losses to Wagner and Notre Dame. Woodall returned as a reserve against Notre Dam, but is far from 100%.
Keys to Victory: Robinson will have to come up big for the Panthers against the thin Bearcat frontline.
The Bottom Line: The Bearcats who have filled in for Gates have taken advantage of their opportunity, and Pitt appears vulnerable – even at home.
The Pick: Cincinnati 71, Pitt 66.