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Cincinnati Coach On BYU: ‘Best Shooting Team In The Country’

Jan 5, 2024, 12:43 PM | Updated: 12:44 pm

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Cincinnati head coach Wes Miller praised BYU basketball entering the Big 12 opener for both teams. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – Saturday night will be the first time BYU and Cincinnati face off in men’s basketball since 2001.

The last time they lined up against each other was in the NCAA Tournament. Now they meet as Big 12 foes for the first time.

Both programs are preparing for their debut game in America’s toughest conference.

Cincinnati head coach Wes Miller gave high praise to BYU Basketball

Cincinnati is traveling to Provo for the first time in its storied history. The Bearcats enter league play with an 11-2 record, while BYU is 12-1 and ranked No. 12 in the AP Top 25.

Wes Miller, a former walk-on guard for Roy Williams at North Carolina, coaches the Bearcats. Miller cut his teeth into coaching by leading UNC-Greensboro to unprecedented success for a decade after taking over the job midseason as an interim coach at the age of 28. Now, Miller is leading Cincinnati in his third year with the program.

Miller had high praise for BYU and the challenge that awaits his program in Provo.

“You look at the way they’re shooting the ball better than anybody in the country,” said Miller. “As coaches, we say things, not necessarily totally literally, just to kind of emphasize. They are the best shooting team in the country. That’s not just to emphasize, they can shoot. They are literally and statistically the best three-point shooting team in the country and can shoot at every position.”

First Big 12 game for both programs

Cincinnati is 104th nationally in defending the three-point shot. Opponents have hit 31.2% of their attempts against the Bearcats. BYU enters the matchup averaging 12.8 made threes per game.

Miller continued, “Their ball movement is phenomenal. They’re great in transition. You look at the runs they put on people. It seems like at least once, sometimes twice a half, they just go on a massive run. That’s how they’ve been able to push leads out to 20-30 points most nights. And then I think the things that you’re seeing on tape is how physical they are defensively. They’re old, they’re tough.”

BYU boasts the nation’s No. 1 scoring margin in the country, defeating teams by 28.8 points per game. That’s not going to be a common occurrence in the Big 12. But Miller has a lot of praise for how Mark Pope’s squad is performing entering conference play.

“BYU is one of the best teams in the country. Top-10 team in America right now,” Miller said. “I’ve heard the environment is out of this world; I’ve never been there, haven’t experienced it. But everybody says it’s one of the most underrated venues in college basketball.”

No. 12 BYU vs. Cincinnati

Date: Saturday, January 6, 2024

Tip-off: 8 p.m. (MT)

TV: ESPN2

Radio: KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM – Pregame begins at 7 p.m.)

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X and Threads: @Mitch_Harper.

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Cincinnati Coach On BYU: ‘Best Shooting Team In The Country’