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Blog Entry

Big East Preview 1, Cincinnati Bearcats

Posted on: October 19, 2008 12:26 pm
 
Now that college basketball is practicing for real, I'm analyzing the Big East team by team, alphabetically by school.  I'll culminate the whole thing in a preseason ranking of all 16 teams, but I'm holding off on making exact predictions on where each team will finish exactly until I've done all the research on all the rosters.  What fans of each team will get is a somewhat impartial (except for Pitt, obviously) view of how things will shape up.  The conference is a monster in 2008-2009, so if I think your team isn't going to be in the running it isn't necessarily because I think that team is bad.  We open with Cincinnati, a team with a winning history but recent struggles.  Will they be all the way back in the '08-'09 season?

2007-2008

Results:

13-19 overalll, 8-10 Big East (10th)
eliminated 1st round Big East tournament (by eventual champion Pittsburgh)
lost 1st round of innaugural College Basketball Invitational (Belmont)

Roster:

Kenny Belton       F
Rashad Bishop  F
Larry Davis          G
Marvin Gentry      G
Adam Hrycaniuk C
Anthony McClain C
Brandon Miller     G
Avin Mitchell          F
Marcus Sikes       F
Deonta Vaughn   G
Jamual Warren   G
Darnell Wilks       F
John Williamson F
2008-2009

Departures:

Gentry, Sikes, Warren, Williamson, Hrycaniuk

The Bearcats lose a lot of minutes in that group, but not really a lot of quality minutes.  Williamson certainly contributed, with 11.6 points per game in 26.5 minutes, but the others really did not take full advantage of their time on the floor.

Arrivals:

Mike Williams F (transfer from Texas) He is a talented player, but unproven.  In his tenure with Texas, he only played his freshman season, averaging 13.6 minutes, 2.3 points, and 3.1 rebounds.  He should be able to improve on that, but I'm not sure he will be the impact player that some suspect.

Domonic Tilford
G (transfer from South Alabama) I'm not 100% certain about this, but I believe Tilford has been tabbed to replace JUCO transfer Nick Aldridge, who was kicked off the team for selling drugs.  Any Uc fans have confirmation?  Anyway, I think he could be a bigger addition than Williams, if that's true.  He adds experience to the guard play alongside Vaughn.

Cashmere Wright
G
Dion Dixon G
Yancy Gates F
Steve Toyloy C
John Reik  C

That's the freshman class, and it looks pretty impressive.  This team will be very deep at guard, and won't lack for talent at Forward, either.  They really didn't get great play at Center last year, and the two newcomers should improve that, especially Reik with his size.  They will be relying on freshmen or Anthony McClain, though, so Center could be their weak spot.

The schedule:

Nonconference games: South Dakota, Texas Southern, Western Illinois, Coastal Carolina, Florida State, UAB, Xavier, Charleston Southern, Mississippi State, Eastern Kentucky, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Memphis

There are four, perhaps five, very dangerous games on that slate, with some real cake in between.  The Bearcats will need to win one or two of those, and avoid any upsets in the easy ones, to look good going into conference play.

Two-time opponents: Georgetown, Providence, St. John's

That is by no means easy, but perhaps as forgiving as one can ask for in this conference.

Remaining roadies: DePaul, Marquette, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, South Florida, Villanova
Home games:  Connecticut, Louisville, Notre Dame, Rutgers, Seton Hall, West Virginia

Not a bad split.  They get three of the four preseason Big East favorites at home, and play none of those twice.

The Outlook

Best Case Scenario:
    Vaughn averages 20 points a game, while Tilford, Dixon, and Wright support him for great depth in the backcourt.  Yancy Gates is as good as advertised, and Mike Williams steps up in a big way.  Reik immediately capitalizes on his height and is spelled capably by McClain and Toyloy.  They blow through a pretty tough nonconference slate with one or two losses, and finish Big East play over .500, win a round or two in the Big East tournament, and get a 7 seed in the NCAAs.  I think NCAA second round is about the best this team can hope for, though.

Worst Case Scenario:
    Let's be clear, this does not include the possibility of injury to a major part of the team.  Vaughn goes a little cold (still good for 12-15 ppg, though).  Williams is not the player they hoped for, and Tilford is unable to keep pace in the Big East.  The talented freshman class just isn't ready to go, as a whole.  Cincinnati meanders into conference play with 5 losses, and just can't compete with the big guns in the conference.  They still manage to knock off a couple of great teams, but return to the CBI.  They're too talented to not win that tournament, if they land there.

My take:
    There is a lot of talent coming to Cincinnati this year.  Their coach got more from them than he should have last year, except down the stretch.  The arrivals are certainly better than the departures, and Deonta Vaughn is among the best scorers in the conference, if not the nation.  This year it won't be Deonta Vaughn and "who else?"  They're improving, but this is the wrong year to be sneaking up on the Big East.  I'm sure the Bearcats will be better, but I'm not so sure that will translate to a much higher finish in the standings.  Most of the teams that finished ahead of them last year are also better.  The Bearcats are going to beat some very good teams this year, but I don't think they're ready to win consistently against top competition.  They have NCAA tournament talent on that roster, but I believe there are 11 teams in the Big East who can make that claim, so getting in will not be easy.  There's a bright future here, to go with a storied past.  Even with Vaughn graduating, I think the 2009-2010 team will be a force again in the Big East as they'll be improving while the top dogs soften a little around them.
Category: NCAAB
Comments

Since: Jan 15, 2008
Posted on: October 24, 2008 3:34 pm
 

Big East Preview 1, Cincinnati Bearcats

Well, I'd better revise this.  Cashmere Wright hurt his knee and is out for the season.  This is a big loss, and I have to imagine all of the expectations will be revised downward.
...................................

...

Kenny Belton is out for the year now as well. UC has lost 3 players before the first tip-off.

Losing Wright is a huge blow. Dixon is a combo guard, Mick may try to play him at the point, but more then likely Vaughn will have to go back to the point. Larry Davis will have to step up now as well.

I'm not ready to give up on them yet, but I felt a lot better with Wright at the point.




Since: Jan 15, 2007
Posted on: October 24, 2008 1:19 pm
 

Big East Preview 1, Cincinnati Bearcats

Well, I'd better revise this.  Cashmere Wright hurt his knee and is out for the season.  This is a big loss, and I have to imagine all of the expectations will be revised downward.

That could be a blessing in disguise, in a way, because a medical redshirt means they'll have Wright when they also have more of a chance to be competitive, and for four years.



Since: Sep 10, 2006
Posted on: October 21, 2008 11:39 am
 

Big East Preview 1, Cincinnati Bearcats

Tilford played for the Beacats three years ago under Andy Kennedy and then transfered to JUCO and ended up at South Alabama (i think). For some reason this website has had him under UC's roster since he transfered.

So no, Tilford is not on the team.




Since: Jan 15, 2007
Posted on: October 20, 2008 4:59 pm
 

Big East Preview 1, Cincinnati Bearcats

Either this site or E.S.P.N. had Tilford listed on the roster, but it could be a mistake on their part or on my own...I might've opened an extra tab in my browser or something.  I don't think his presence or absence changes much about my expectations for Cincy.  He would add depth.  I would doubt I got that right, if I were a Cincinnati fan, though.  If you guys haven't heard of it it probably isn't true.

Thanks for the comments, guys.



Since: Jan 15, 2008
Posted on: October 20, 2008 3:15 pm
 

Big East Preview 1, Cincinnati Bearcats

Tilford is not listed on the lineup, and this is the first I have heard of it. 

I think you are pretty on about this team, young but tons of talent.  I'm just going to chill and wait to see what happens.

We also lost to Bradley in the CBI.

very nice blog.




Since: Jan 17, 2008
Posted on: October 19, 2008 12:46 pm
 

Big East Preview 1, Cincinnati Bearcats

Wow, I obviously meant to say Basketball team... I guess my mind hasn't yet made that transition. It is only October...



Since: Jan 17, 2008
Posted on: October 19, 2008 12:44 pm
 

Big East Preview 1, Cincinnati Bearcats

Very good analysis, in my opinion. I agree that UC is gonna  be a better football team, but also think that this Conference is just going to be suicide for everyone.

I don't think the winner will come through with a 15-3 record like G'Town did last year, but I do think that any team that is .500 in the BE has a legit shot at an 8-9 seed in the NCAAs.

If Vaughn finds the help that he so desperately needs, UC will steal a couple games from the 8-9 teams that will be projected to finish ahead of them in the league....



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