Wednesday, November 7, 2018

NCAAB: Ohio State Buckeyes vs Cincinnati Bearcats

Cincinnati Bearcats Athletics

Buckeyes Travel to Face Bearcats for First time in 98 Years



The fans at Fifth Third Arena will see the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Cincinnati Bearcats on Wednesday evening. For the first time since Jan. 3, 1920, Ohio State will travel to Cincinnati to play the Bearcats. This is the season opener for both teams will be the first meeting in a regular-season game since 1921.

TV: 6 p.m. ET, ESPN2

LINE: Cincinnati -4.5; O/U: 135

No one knows for sure the reason the two Ohio programs have avoided each other throughout the decades. The general consensus is that Ohio State had nothing to gain as the highest-profile school in the state. If they played and lost to Cincinnati, then it could affect recruiting.

Cincinnati defeated Ohio State in the 1961 and 1962 NCAA Tournament championship games. Ohio State won contests on a neutral court in 2006 and in an NCAA Sweet 16 game in 2012 in Boston.

The two-year agreement to meet in a home-and-home series is attributable to relationships between the schools' two athletic directors and coaches. Cincinnati's Mike Bohn and Ohio State's Gene Smith got together on the AD's end and the two coaches, Cincinnati's Mick Cronin and Ohio State's Chris Holtmann, agreed to play.

"It's great for basketball in Ohio, the two biggest universities in the state playing each other," Cronin told Cincinnati.com. "It's good for our state, it's good for high school basketball, it brings attention to both our universities nationally. Everything is positive about the game. Hopefully, it's a series we can always play."


The Buckeyes were 25-9 during the 2017-18 season. They surprised everyone last year by finishing in a second-place tie with Purdue in the Big Ten. It was Holtmann's first season, after being picked  to finish 11th in the preseason.

Ohio State is not expected to duplicate last year's success after losing several key components. Those losses included Big Ten Player of the Year Keita Bates-Diop.

The top returnee is forward Kaleb Wesson. He recorded 12 points and 10 rebounds in limited action against UNC Pembroke in Ohio State's 81-63 exhibition victory last week.

Wesson's brother, Andre, along with C.J. Jackson, Musa Jallow and Kyle Young, are the other Ohio State returnees. They will be joined by transfer Keyshawn Woods and Holtmann's first recruiting class. These players could contribute right away and will be needed.

The Bearcats were 31-5 in the 2017-18 season. They must replace three starters. Gary Clark was the 2017-18 American Athletic Conference player of the year. Kyle Washington and Jacob Evans  were significant contributors from an NCAA Tournament team that won more than 30 games for the second straight season.

Junior guard Jarron Cumberland is a preseason All-American Athletic Conference pick. He is the only returnee who averaged in double figures last season. He scored 11.5 points per game.

Junior college transfer Rashawn Fredericks should make an immediate contribution. 6-foot-11, 250-pound junior center Nysier Brooks should see more minutes as a rebounder and defender.

Cincinnati is one of four programs to win 30 or more games in each of the past two seasons. They are one of six schools to appear in the last eight NCAA Tournaments.

PREDICTION: Cincinnati 60, Ohio State 58



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Next up:
Ohio State home to IPFW Sunday, November 11
Cincinnati home to North Carolina Central Tuesday, November 13

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