Cincinnati at Kansas Preview

The Bearcats will look to rebound from a 69-65 loss to Oklahoma tonight in an ESPN Big Monday 9 pm tip inside Allen Fieldhouse against the 3rd-ranked Kansas Jayhawks (15-3 3-2 Big 12).

The game will mark Cincinnati's sixth-consecutive game against a ranked opponent. The last time UC played six consecutive games against ranked opponents was in 1994.

Kansas is looking to rebound from a 91-85 loss at West Virginia on Jan. 20. UC leads the overall series with Kansas, 4-3. The two teams last met in 1996 in Chicago, a KU 72-65 win. 

(AP Photo - Reed Hoffmann)

Key Stats and Notes:

Kansas enters Monday’s matchup averaging 79.5 points per game with a plus-11.8 scoring margin. The Jayhawks pull down 37.3 rebounds per outing with a plus-5.1 rebound margin. Kansas leads the nation in assists per game at 21.0. KU leads the Big 12 and is fourth nationally in field goal percentage (51.0%). KU also averages 7.4 steals and 4.5 blocked shots per contest.

Oscar Robertson's 56 points in a 1958 NCAA Tournament win over Arkansas remains the Allen Fieldhouse singe-game scoring record. Robertson scored 43 points and pulled down 14 rebounds on March 12th, 1960 in an 83-71 win over the Jayhawks in a Midwest Region Final.

- Cincinnati has been out-rebounded the past two games by TCU and Oklahoma but still have a plus-10 margin on the glass. 

- UC is currently 20th in Kenpom's defensive efficiency. Kansas ranks 26th in both offensive and defensive efficiency. The Jayhawks are 18th in the Kenpom rankings. NET ratings currently have KU as the 14th best team in the country.

- All three Kansas losses have come on the road or at a neutral site. Bill Self's team is 9-0 inside Allen Fieldhouse. 

Players to watch:

- 6'7 Graduate G Kevin McCullar Jr

McCullar Jr. leads the Big 12 in scoring at 20.0 points per game, which is 27th nationally. His two triple-doubles are the most amongst the NCAA. McCullar also leads KU with 28 three-point field goals made. His 6.4 rebounds per game are second on the team. When looking at KU's roster, McCullar is likely the most versatile player on the team, ranking in 11 Big 12 statistical categories.

A transfer from Texas Tech, McCullar entered the NBA Draft process following the 2022-23 season and decided to return to Kansas for a fifth year. A three-time All-Big 12 selection, McCullar was a Naismith Defensive Player of the Year semifinalist in 2021-22 and 2022-23.

- 7'2 Senior C Hunter Dickinson

Dickinson leads the Big 12 and is fifth nationally in rebounds per game at 11.3. He has three double-doubles in his last six games and his 10 double-doubles lead the Big 12 and are eighth nationally. The Virginia native had been named Big 12 player of the week five times this season.

Dickinson is the only player in the Big 12 averaging a double-double. He also leads KU with 26 blocked shots and has 22 steals. Dickinson has been held to single digits scoring just once this season with his best game of the season being a 27-point, 21- rebound performance against Kentucky. In Kansas two losses to West Virginia and UCF, Dickinson was held to 5 and 4 rebounds. If UC wants to win, limiting him on the glass has to be a primary focus. The 7'2 big man has also shown a consistent ability to connect from deep, making 42.1 percent of his three-point attempts this season.

- 6'7 Junior F KJ Adams Jr.

Another KU player leading the Big 12 in a statistic category, Adams leads the Big 12 and is 19th nationally in field goal percentage at 62.3%. Adams is averaging 14.0 points and 7.0 rebounds in Big 12 play and 12.7 points and 5.0 rebounds for the season. He has 58 assists so far this season.

The Texas product was named to the Big 12 All Freshman team during Kansas' run to the national championship and is the lockdown defender that Bill Self uses to try to limit the opposition's best player. Adams was also named Big 12's Most Improve Player last season.

Adams is not a deep threat, missing both of his three-point attempts this season, and he has also struggled from the free-throw line. Adams has made just 58 percent of his attempts from the free-throw line. 

- 6'2 Redshirt-senior G Dajuan Harris Jr.

Harris is the engine that makes the KU offense run. Harris has shown an elite ability to distribute the ball and currently leads the Big 12 with 6.8 assists per game, which is eighth nationally. Harris averages 7.0 points per contest and has a team-high 26 steals.

Harris was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year the past two seasons and has led the league in assist-turnover ratio both seasons as well. While not a guy that is typically going to hurt you with his scoring, the ability is there. He had a season high 23 points with seven assists in a win over Kentucky on November 14th. A 42 percent 3-point shooter, Harris made 5-of-6 from deep in that game. 

- 6'9 Freshman G Johnny Furphy 

An Australian native, Furphy is averaging 6.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg, and has started the last three games for KU.

Since being inserted in to the starting lineup, Furphy is averaging 11.7 ppg and 5.7 rpg with seven threes made in that span. 

Furphy is known for his length, athleticism and ability to knock down threes but is also a guy that has the ability to attack the rim and finish above the rim. Furphy scored 13 points against West Virginia and 15 points against Oklahoma State. In both games, Furphy pulled down seven rebounds.

Others to know:

Other KU regulars include freshman G Elmarko Jackson (4.8 ppg, 43 assists, 15 starts), graduate-senior G Nicolas Timberlake (4.0 ppg, 13 3FGs), graduate-senior F Parker Braun (2.8 ppg, 15 blocked shots) and freshman G Jamari McDowell (1.7 ppg).

Jackson has been held to two points or less in six of the past seven KU games and has really struggled from deep, making just 26.7 percent of his attempts. 

Timberlake scored 12 points against West Virginia, but it was just the third time this season that he scored in double figures.

Final Thoughts

As good as Kansas has been this season, they aren't a team that possesses a lot of depth. They primarily stick to a seven-man rotation with Jackson and Timberlake playing the most minutes off the bench. The KU "big four" of Harris, Adams, McCullar, and Dickinson all average 32 minutes per game or more. Getting those guys in foul trouble and being aggressive going to the rim could go a long way in the Bearcats having success in a tough road environment. 

Vegas likes KU -8.5 with an over/under set at 146.5. 

Winnable game for Cincinnati but they will have to limit turnovers and make their free-throws when they are given opportunities. Kansas ranks 27th nationally in fouls per game (14.5).

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