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March 4, 2013Cincinnati is making the 100-mile trip south to Louisville, Kentucky tonight for a Big Monday showdown against the Cardinals. It is a rematch of last years' Big East Championship at Madison Square Garden where the Cardinals were able to best the Bearcats 50-44.
The 94 points marked the fewest points scored in the Big East championship game. It wouldn't be surprising to see a similar performance tonight at the KFC Yum! Center. Five teams in the Big East have an opponents average of under 60 points per game. Cincinnati and Louisville are two of them with 59.1 and 58.3 points per game respectively.
Here are a few things to keep an eye on tonight:
• Cincinnati has struggled against ranked teams this season. The Bearcats currently hold a 2-5 record against AP Top 25 teams - tallying wins over Pittsburgh and Marquette. Louisville comes into the game ranked 8th after a win over Syracuse on Saturday at the Carrier Dome.
• The point guard matchup between Cashmere Wright and Peyton Siva. Wright has been struggling lately with his shooting touch. Since being injured against DePaul on January 15th, Wright has not shot over 36% from the field in a single game and is averaging just 8.2 points per game.
Peyton Siva isn't coming in hot, either. Siva was held scoreless against Syracuse on Saturday and Louisville head coach Rick Pitino benched his senior point guard with less than two minutes remaining in a tie game.
• Cincinnati doesn't really have anything to lose in the game tonight. The Bearcats are 11-point underdogs and are winners of only two out of their last seven games. Saturday's home win over Connecticut gave the Bearcats their 20th win of the season and erased the fears of not hearing their name called on Selection Sunday.
• The atmosphere at the KFC Yum! Center should be electric. Pitino is going for his 300th win with Louisville and he is doing so against one of the schools biggest rivals. Louisville also still has an outside shot at being the top-seed in the Big East Tournament with two wins and two Georgetown losses to close the season.
Follow James Freeman on Twitter: @JFreeman83