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Preview: History on the Line for Wes Miller as Bearcats Face Presbyterian

Cincinnati has a chance to sweep their four-game homestead to open the season.

CINCINNATI — UC welcomes the Presbyterian Blue Hose into Fifth Third Arena for a quick turnaround on Thursday and the last of the program's four-game homestand to open the season.

Bearcats men's basketball head coach Wes Miller has a chance to do something on Thursday that no UC coach has pulled off in over fifty years. Miller can start his UC tenure 4-0 for the first time since Tay Baker led the 1965-66 team to a Missouri Valley Conference title.

The Bearcats have yet to play their best basketball but are 2-1 against the spread and boast a suffocating defense. Cincinnati ranks 43rd nationally in points per possession allowed this season (0.826 PPP). Overall, they are 50th in points per game allowed (59 PPG).

Presbyterian is 2-1 on the season with wild victories over VMI in overtime and The Citadel in double overtime. Those two opponents rank 242nd and 198th in KenPom, while Presbyterian ranks 260th.

The Blue Hose won't be intimidated by a daunting opponent on paper, although those two wins did come at home. Head coach Quinton Ferrell's squad is in its 15th season playing at the Division 1 level and has won 19 games across his two-plus campaigns on the bench.

If you are wondering what a "Blue Hose" is, here is what I found on the athletic department website: "The nickname “Blue Hose” began in the early 1900s when sportswriters referred to the Presbyterian College athletic teams as the 'Blue Stockings' because of the blue socks they wore. Writers used the terms 'stockings' and 'hose' interchangeably over the years."

Shooting has been a massive problem for the Blue Hose, and that's the worst one to have against this long, versatile Bearcats roster. Presbyterian ranks 345th nationally in shooting percentage this season (35.8%) and 231st in points per possession (0.902 PPP).

Rayshon Harrison (21.7 PPG, seven RPG, four APG) is the Blue Hose's leading scorer, and the 36th ranked bucket getter in the country by points per game. Unfortunately for Presbyterian, Harrison is chucking up a lot of bricks through three games. The 6-foot-4, 180-pound sophomore guard is shooting just 32.8% overall and 20% from three-point range.

Free throws (15-for-17) are buoying his production, but the gunner is shooting plenty of blanks thus far. Harrison clearly trusts that his downtown tries will fall eventually, as he is taking the fifth most three-point attempts per game nationally (10 APG).

Cincinnati has been slightly susceptible to the long ball in the opening two weeks of non-conference play. They rank 206th defending the three-ball this season, allowing teams to hit 34% of their triple tries.

Harrison dominates the offensive production, accounting for 47% of all Blue Hose points and assists this season. Second-leading scorer Winston Hill (12.3 PPG, 10.7 RPG) is the only other Blue Hose player eclipsing 10 shots per game.

If Cincinnati can keep making Presbyterian a one-man show, they'll have a great chance to match Tay Baker's start from 56 years ago.

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