The Cincinnati Bearcats (14-7, 5-3 AAC) visit the American Athletic Conference’s top team – the No. 3 Houston Cougars (19-2, 7-1) on Saturday. Cincinnati had its three-game winning streak snapped on Jan. 22 with a 75-68 loss to Memphis. Meanwhile, Houston bounced back from a loss with an 82-71 win over UCF.
Will the Bearcats pull off the upset and grab a signature win, or will Houston continue to coast in conference play with another dominant showing?
Let’s check the latest college basketball news, stats, injury reports and college basketball lines for Cincinnati vs Houston. We’ve got plenty of NCAA basketball picks for you to consider.
Bearcats Hunting Signature Win
Cincinnati has not appeared in the NCAA Tournament since 2019. The Bearcats will likely miss out again as they are 81st in the NCAA’s NET Rankings. However, a win over Houston would certainly be a major boost to their resume. But is Cincy capable of pulling off the major upset?
It will likely come down to 3-point shooting and the possession battle. The Bearcats must win both if they want a chance. Cincinnati heavily relies on the three, shooting 24.9 per game (43rd). When shooters like Landers Nolley II (44.3%) and David DeJulius (38.6%) get hot from deep, Cincinnati becomes a very dangerous team.
Houston features an elite defense, ranking third in Kenpom’s efficiency and second in allowed points per game. While the Cougars hold opponents to 26% on 3-pointers (fourth), their perimeter defense is not impossible to crack. In fact, Houston’s last two opponents – Temple and UCF – made at least eight 3-pointers.
Cincinnati must avoid turnovers and win the rebound battle. Houston wins the turnovers margin by about five per game and leads the nation in offensive rebounding percentage.
The Bearcats have played well on the road, going 3-0 outright and 2-1 against the spread (ATS) in their last three away games.
Houston Hoping for Consistent Guard Play
The Cougars were given a reality check on Jan. 22 with a 56-55 loss against Temple. Suddenly, Houston’s lead atop conference standings is not so comfortable with Temple only one game back. The Cougars have no room for error with the Owls right on their tail.
Despite the recent loss, Houston is still one of college basketball’s best squads. It is No. 1 in Kenpom’s rating and ranks seventh in offensive efficiency and third in defensive efficiency. Being highly efficient on both ends is a major positive, as recent national champions have ranked in the top 25 of both categories. Backing the Cougars to cut down the nets in April is still a wise bet.
However, there is some legitimate concern about Houston. Inconsistent guard play continues to be a problem. Marcus Sasser (16.6 points), Tramon Mark (10 points) and Jamal Shead (nine points) shoot under 43% from the floor. Over the last four games, the Cougs are 2-2 ATS. In the two covers, at least two of Houston’s guards shot 50% or better from the floor. In the losses ATS, at least two guards shot less than 42% from the field. They must show up against Cincinnati, which features good guard play.
Cincinnati vs Houston Injuries
Cincinnati vs Houston Head-to-Head
Houston has won seven consecutive games against Cincinnati while going 7-0 ATS. In their last three home games against the Bearcats, the Cougars have won by an average margin of 23 points. On Jan. 8, Houston comfortably defeated Cincinnati 72-59.
Cincinnati vs Houston Game Information
- Game: Cincinnati (14-7, 5-3 AAC) vs No. 3 Houston (19-2, 7-1)
- Location: Fertitta Center, Houston, TX
- Day/Time: Saturday, Jan. 28, 2:15 p.m. ET
- Cincinnati vs Houston Live Stream: TBS
Cincinnati vs Houston Betting Lines
Cincinnati vs Houston Picks & Prediction
In Jan. 8’s matchup, Cincinnati did a lot of things right and still lost by double digits. For example, the Bearcats drained nine 3-pointers and won the rebound battle by six. However, Cincy lost the turnover battle by 10 and its guards were thoroughly outplayed.
Look for Houston to stay hot against Cincinnati with its eighth straight cover ATS in the matchup. This one could be even more out of hand. The Bearcats managed to rebound well in the last matchup, but the Cougars lead in offensive rebounding percentage while Cincy is 115th in defensive rebounding percentage. Houston will dominate the glass this time around, leading to a dominant win.
Houston is listed at -1130 in our Las Vegas college basketball lines. This means that if you wager $100 on the Cougars, you have a chance to win $7. Cincinnati is +730, offering a chance to win $730 on a $100 wager.
The implied probability attached to the betting lines gives Houston a 91.87% chance to win, with the Bearcats at 12.05%.