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Penn State vs. Cincinnati Preview: Lions Seek to Salvage a Win at the Mohegan Sun

Another Top-25 team awaits Penn State in the consolation game of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off

NCAA Basketball: Hall of Fame Tip Off-Rhode Island at Cincinnati David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Who: Duke Blue Devils
When: 3:00 PM ET Sunday, November 20
Where: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, CT
TV: ESPN2
KenPom Rank: 29
Vegas Line: Unavailable at time of posting

After giving their all against Duke, Penn State predictably finds itself in the consolation game of the Hall Of Fame Tip-Off. Awaiting them is another ranked program in #24 Cincinnati, who are coming off a tough 76-71 loss against Rhode Island, where they blew 12-point lead. A win over the Bearcats would be a huge scalp for a Penn State team that is getting tested more than they typically would in a non-conference slate, in an effort to better prepare for the rigors of Big Ten play.

Scouting The Opposition

Cincinnati is known for their slower (KenPom ranks Cincy 344th out of 347 teams in tempo), more physical style of play. This isn’t surprising considering their head coach Mick Cronin, is a disciple of long-time Bearcat coach Bob Huggins, who preached a similar style, which he now incorporates at West Virginia. Guard Jacob Evans and forward Kyle Washington are both serious scoring threats, having racked up 25 and 23 points respectively, against Rhode Island. They are also led by senior point guard Troy Caupain, who is averaging nearly six assists thus far in this young season for the Bearcats.

What To Watch For

The key to this game will be whether Penn State can force the pace and play the up-tempo game that Pat Chambers prefers, which would get Cincy out of its comfort zone. Given how sturdy this team can be defensively, it is imperative that the Lions not settle for jacking up threes or mid-range jump shots and look to drive to the hoop. Also, keep an eye out for how PSU tries to keep Evans and Washington from going off again, scoring-wise.

Prediction

Penn State will keep this one more interesting than the Duke game, but the Bearcats’ defensive tenacity may prove to be a little too much to overcome.

Cincinnati 67, Penn State 64