Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Wichita State Shockers Pick 2/6/20
Cincinnati Bearcats (14-7 SU, 9-12 ATS) vs. Wichita State Shockers (17-4 SU, 10-9-2 ATS)
When: Thursday, February 6, 7 p.m.
Where: Koch Arena, Wichita, Kan.
Point Spread: CIN +3.5/WICH -3.5 (5Dimes - Save HUGE money by laying only -105 on sides there!)
Total: O/U 134
Last Time Out:
Cincinnati defeated Houston 64-62; Wichita State lost 54-51 to Tulsa.
Scouting the Bearcats:
It’s now or never for the Bearcats. You might not know this, but there are only three teams in the entire nation who have made more consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament than Cincinnati: Kansas, Duke, and Michigan State. No other school can beat Cincinnati’s nine years in a row (and the only school that can match it, North Carolina, isn’t going this year without winning its conference tournament), but the Bearcats are currently on the wrong side of the cut line.
The problem is that, like most years, the American has few quality win opportunities and several land mines. Cincinnati did itself a huge favor by beating Houston, but the Bearcats still have work to do because their profile also includes a loss to Tulane. In order to get a result here, Cincinnati is going to have to play better defense than it did in its last road game when it went to Temple and escaped despite allowing the Owls to shoot 64 percent from behind the arc. That is not who the Bearcats are and not who they can be if they intend to keep the win streak going. Jarron Cumberland can put up points, but Cincinnati is at its best when he doesn’t have to score a huge amount to get a win.
Scouting the Shockers:
On the one hand, the Shockers are getting the job done on defense. On the other, this team cannot score. Wichita State only has a couple of solid players who can put points on the board on a regular basis, with the rest of the team reliant on their defensive skills to gut out a win. Most times, that’s worked this season, but there’s a genuine concern that things could be turning in the wrong direction, as Wichita State has now lost three of its past five after starting 15-1.
What’s more, only once in the past five games have the Shockers broken 56 points, which happened in the win over Central Florida at home. Against Tulsa, Jaime Echenique was the only one to hit double digits, as Wichita State shot 34.5 percent and could only grab one more rebound than the Golden Hurricane, a recipe for disaster. Wichita State isn’t deep enough to sustain only getting contributions from one of their top scorers; Jamarious Burton and Erik Stevenson have to get going.
Depth. Conference games often come down to depth, and neither of these teams has it. Cincinnati gets over 80 percent of its scoring from its starting five, and although the Shockers are a little more balanced than that, they’ve only got what’s essentially a seven-man rotation. If either of these teams gets in foul trouble with one or more of their key players, it’s going to change the contest entirely and force the coaches to come up with a Plan B that can keep their team in the game.
Cincinnati will Cover if:
The Bearcats can lock things down defensively. The Bearcats’ style of play has long been defense-first under Mick Cronin, and that has continued so far under John Brannen. Cincinnati is most comfortable when the game features about 115 to 125 points total, so the fact that they’re playing a team that’s been playing that way as of late should play right into their hands.
Wichita State will Cover if:
The Shockers can own the glass. Wichita State got its win over Central Florida despite playing poorly on defense because it dominated inside and got a lot of second-chance points. When you rebound well and give yourself multiple looks at the basket, it completely changes the game, and that’s precisely what Wichita State needs to do to take down the Bearcats. Getting some offense going would also help, but rebounding would be a big part of that too.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread:
It’s hard to pick Wichita State to lose at home, but the reality is that the Shockers are not getting the job done enough at the offensive end. That’s a situation that plays right into Cincinnati’s hands, and I don’t expect the Bearcats to be bothered by playing a low-scoring game in a hostile building.
Plus, Cincinnati needs this game a lot more than Wichita State does. The Shockers are solidly in the field right now. The Bearcats need a quality road win, and the only other chance they have to get one is in Houston. Lose here, and Cincinnati will have to throw everything into winning on the Cougars’ court AND avoid a trap game two days later in Tampa at South Florida. Life would be much easier for Cincinnati if it can simply get a win here and set itself up to make a run toward the cut line. That’s why I’ll go with the Bearcats, and I think the total is high enough to make the under an enticing pairing. Bet tonight’s college basketball picks for FREE by taking advantage of a 100% REAL CASH singup bonus at Mybookie! Deposit anywhere from $100 to $300 using bonus code PREDICT100 and they’ll match your deposit dollar for dollar! You must signup through this special link to take advantage of this offer!
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