The University of Cincinnati will enter Tuesday's game against Temple on a eight-game winning streak and a 14-game home winning streak. The Bearcats jumped into the AP Top 25 for the first time this season and currently stand at #19, also being the lone undefeated team in AAC conference play. Despite a rough shooting stretch from Sean Kilpatrick for the Bearcats, Justin Jackson has picked up the slack and is the first player in the nation to be named conference player of the week for three consecutive week.
The Temple Owls (5-9 overall; 0-4 AAC) come in struggling, sitting in 10th place in the AAC. However, all of their conference losses have been close contests including a 5 point loss to Rutgers, a 2 point loss to UCF, 7 point loss to USF, and a 10 point loss to Memphis. So expect the Owls to give the Bearcats a run for their money.
In a media interview, head coach Mick Cronin talked about being ranked in the top 25 for the first time this season, "There's three reasons why it's great being ranked: 1. Our highlights are shown on SportsCenter, so that helps with recruiting. 2. Players know who we are. And by players we mean the players we're trying to recruit. 3. It gets the fans excited about our team and any way to get sellouts is great for this squad."
The player to watch for the Temple Owls is senior guard Dalton Pepper, who the Bearcats have had experience playing against. He was once starting guard for the West Virginia Mountaineers under former Cincinnati head coach Bob Huggins. Pepper leads the team in points (17.2 ppg), field goal percentage (48.9%) and is second on the team in rebounds (5.7 rpg). He also leads the AAC in three-point percentage (43.0%). His season high in points (26) came in a 101-65 victory against LIU-Brooklyn.
Another player to watch out for is junior guard Will Cummings from Jacksonville, Florida. He averages 16.1 points per game, second on the team behind leading scorer Dalton Pepper. His best scoring output came in a loss against UCF, scoring 31 and ripping down 3 rebounds.
A win against Temple would give the Bearcats a 16-2 overall record and match UC's best start to a season under coach Cronin. UC also started 16-2 during the 2010-11 season en route to a 26-9 overall record while advancing to the third round of the NCAA Tournament (lost to eventual national champion UConn.)
Also, check out the post practice comments from Sean Kilpatrick: