Cincinnati looks to strengthen its hold on first place in the American Athletic Conference when it hosts fifth-ranked Louisville in what figures to be an intense affair Saturday afternoon. The ninth-ranked Bearcats have rebounded from their lone conference loss with back-to-back wins, including a 77-49 rout of Central Florida on Wednesday that gave them a 1 1/2-game lead on the Cardinals and a chance to establish some separation Saturday. Cincinnati star guard Sean Kilpatrick, who scored 23 points in the victory, said after the game that he has been "dreaming about" the matchup with Louisville.The Cardinals have not lost since a 69-66 setback against the Bearcats in the first meeting Jan. 30, winning five straight by an average of 26 points. That run of dominance continued with Tuesday's 80-54 win over South Florida, with Russ Smith scoring 19 points and Luke Hancock adding 16. Louisville forced 20 turnovers and limited the Bulls to one 3-pointer as it held a third straight opponent under 60 points.TV: 12 p.m. ET, CBSABOUT LOUISVILLE (22-4, 11-2 AAC): The Cardinals' outstanding run has coach Rick Pitino talking big picture as he eyes a potential run to a repeat national title. "We are going to continue to get better," Pitino said after the win over South Florida. "I think February is the time to get better, March is the time to win and I think we're doing that." It is hard to argue with that assessment given that Louisville has forced 89 turnovers while committing only 42 during the five-game win streak.ABOUT CINCINNATI (24-3, 13-1): As the league's top scorer and one of the most prolific players in program history, Kilpatrick is not new to leading the way for the Bearcats. However, he has stepped up his game even more lately, emerging from a shooting slump to average 24.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists - all above his season norms - over the last seven games. Kilpatrick, who had 28 points in the win over Louisville last month, needs 10 more to join Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson as the only Bearcats to score 2,000 career points.TIP-INS1. Louisville leads the AAC in scoring (81.4) in conference play while Cincinnati tops the league in scoring defense (58.3).2. Bearcats F Justin Jackson had four blocked shots against Central Florida to bump his AAC-leading total to 44.3. Eleven of Hancock's 15 field goals over the last three games have been 3-pointers.PREDICTION: Cincinnati 73, Louisville 69