Game 8 - Howard (3-4) vs. Cincinnati (5-0)
Nuts & Bolts
Date: November 28, 2023
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Burr Gymnasium - Washington, DC
How to Watch: ESPN+
Matchup History: Cincinnati leads all-time series 2-0
Last Meeting: Cincinnati def. Howard 70-39 on 11/10/06
Betting Lines: Via DraftKings
Spread: Howard +10.5
Prediction: Howard 79, Cincinnati 77
Following its best season in school history in which they won the MEAC regular season and tournament title, Howard is off to a 3-4 start under fifth year Head Coach Kenny Blakeney.
The Bison have a very deep roster, with key returners Bryce Harris, Marcus Dockery, Shy Odom, and Jelani Williams, along with the key addition of Seth Towns and other early season contributors.
Howard is 3-4, with wins over Hampton, Boston University, and Mount St. Mary’s, entering Tuesday night’s game against Cincinnati 2-0 at home this season.
Both teams have deep benches, so Howard will not have its usual depth advantage in the game against the Bearcats. What they will have is the home crowd behind them and the unique Burr Gymnasium atmosphere that is challenging for opponents to feel comfortable in.
If the Bison can jump on Cincy early in the game and build a lead, there’s potential to ride the home crowd across the finish line and steal a resume-building win against a Big 12 opponent.
It’s a monster home game for Howard and a huge opportunity for Blakeney’s team.
Cincinnati makes the trip to DC to take on Howard fresh off its 89-54 demolition of Georgia Tech, the only common opponent the Bearcats have with Howard.
On November 9, the Bison lost to Georgia Tech in an 88-85 thriller. Then, last Wednesday, Cincinnati beat that Georgia Tech team by 35, opening up the second half on a 38-7 run to propel to victory.
In the win, the Bearcats had seven different players score 8 or more points, including the leading scorer in the game and on the year, Viktor Lahkin.
Lahkin is a 6'11” junior from Russia who has taken a monster leap forward from last season thus far, averaging 14 points and nearly 9 rebounds per game while shooting nearly 60% from the field.
Besides the big man, Cincy can shoot from deep and they take care of the ball. The Bearcats are 16th in the nation in three pointers made per game and rank 6th in assist-turnover ratio.
It will be far from easy for Howard in a home game against a solid Big 12 opponent. In year three under head coach Wes Miller, the Bearcats will face a gauntlet of a schedule in its first year in the conference, needing as many non-conference wins as it can get.
They’re off to a 5-0 start, but can they keep it going in the school’s second ever road game against an HBCU (@ Tennessee State, 1988)?