The Bearcats lost beefy Yancy Gates, but enjoy a good enough rotation inside to maintain a plus-11 average margin in rebounding. Justin Jackson, a 6-8 junior, averages a team-high 6.2 rebounds and 1.7 blocks; 6-10 Senegal native Cheikh Mbodj averages 5.2 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in about 17 minutes.
Off the bench, the Bearcats have another Senegalese big man, 7-1 David Nyarsuk. And yes, he is the former West Virginia signee who detoured through now-defunct Mountain State, leading the Cougars to the 2011 NAIA championship game and the 2012 semifinals. He has a five-block game this season, against North Carolina A&T.
Cincinnati's win over Alabama came in the SEC-Big East Challenge, and it came after the Bearcats downed Iowa State (78-70) and Oregon (77-66). Scheduling oddity: The Bearcats will not play a nonconference opponent on its true home court this season.
In fact, Saturday's game is the closest to a true road game. Even odder: Cincinnati is driving 50-plus miles farther to play at the Civic Center than it would to get to MU's Cam Henderson Center.
Tickets are $15 and $25, and are available through Marshall (800-THE-HERD) and the Civic Center Box office. $10 tickets are available through MU's athletic website, herdzone.com.
UC president Santa Ono has an open pledge to shave his head if the school wins 10 straight games in either football or basketball. So if the Bearcats beat Marshall, the clippers come out.
Ono persuaded athletic director Whit Babcock and student body president Lane Hart to join him. The barbering won't take place until after the holiday break, though.