No. 3 Houston will be out to defend its home court Saturday when it plays host to Cincinnati in an AAC showdown on CBS. The Cougars suffered a stunning upset loss to Temple last Sunday in their most recent game at the Fertitta Center. The defeat dropped Houston out of the top spot in the national rankings and ruined its hopes of an undefeated run through AAC play in the program's final season before departing for the Big 12.
Oddly enough, both of Houston's losses have come at home this season as the Cougars (19-2, 7-1 AAC) also suffered a 71-65 loss to Alabama at the Fertitta Center on Dec. 10. But if Cincinnati (14-7, 5-3) is going to become the third team to knock off Houston this season, it will need a much stronger effort than it got in the first meeting between these teams.
The Cougars crushed Cincinnati 72-59 on Jan. 8 behind 21 points from freshman phenom Jarace Walker. It was defense that carried the day for Houston, though, as the Cougars turned 17 Cincinnati turnovers into 26 points. By comparison, the Bearcats finished with just four points off seven Houston turnovers.
Houston has shown flashes of vulnerability in the weeks since the first meeting; the Cougars barely escaped with a win at South Florida on Jan. 11 and were bitten by a poor shooting night in the Temple loss. The Cougars got back on track Wednesday night with an 82-71 road win over a quality UCF team as redshirt freshman guard Emanuel Sharp tied his career-high with 18 points off the bench.
The Bearcats won three straight after their first meeting with Houston but saw their winning streak snapped Sunday against Memphis in a 75-68 home loss. This team has taken obvious strides under second-year coach Wes Miller but has been plagued by turnovers and poor free-throw shooting at times.
How to watch Houston vs. Cincinnati live
Date: Saturday, Jan. 28 | Time: 2:15 p.m. ET
Location: Fertitta Center -- Houston
TV: CBS | Live stream: CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App (Free)
Houston vs. Cincinnati prediction, picks
Houston's tenacious defense rattled Cincinnati in the first meeting this month as the Cougars picked up the win, but the Bearcats won three straight after that and should be motivated to play a more composed game in the rematch. The Cougars have been surprisingly vulnerable at home this season. Both their losses have come inside the Fertitta Center, and teams like UCF and South Florida have played Houston close there as well. Look for the Bearcats to hang around. Prediction: Cincinnati +14.5
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