This should be a feist of defense and spunk today. Settle in for a fun one.
Jeremiah Davis and Ge'Lawn Guyn are sporting some fantastic dunks in warmups. Highly confident freshmen entering BIG EAST week 2.
Posted on 1/7 1:13 PM | IP: 18.104.22.168
I have two keys to the game.
1) Transition Defense St. John's is known for quick hitters. They push the ball after make or miss and take shots in the first 8 seconds of the shot clock. UC was awful with transition defense in November. When SK drives Dion and Cash have to rotate back and cover for him.
The same works for Cash penetrations. With four guards the transition should be slightly better, but Parker often hits the offensive glass leaving him unavailable. Get back and get back with conviction. In a halfcourt offense STJ struggles. UC wins big if they can delay the attack just five seconds.
2) Ball movement STJ plays an aggressive zone. They like to pressure the ball and push up into the weakside offensive player too.
With so many scorers UC can afford to pass up semi-open shots for very open shots. Frankly SK has been hitting challenged shots all year, so this might not be addressed. We should see UC use both left and right sides of the halfcourt. Make the STJ players rotate swiftly. Change the point of attack.
Posted on 1/7 1:20 PM | IP: 22.214.171.124
Projected Starting Lineup
G 6-2 -- Phil Greene (6.4 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.2 spg)
G 6-3 -- D'Angelo Harrison (15.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.8 spg)
This is an excerpt from an article I was working on prior to this game. Makes more sense now than later.
Remeber the tired sports cliche, 'something has gotta give?' It is often used when one team thrives on offense whilst their combatants shut down opponents.
The game surely can't include great offense and great defense simultaneously, right? Something has gotta give!
This afternoon nothing need give at all. UC has the best three-point shooting (38%) in the BIG EAST. Today it will be pitted against an awful perimeter defense.
UConn's star Jeremy Lamb dropped four bombs upon Lavin's guards. Coach Rick Pitino's offense, which features multiple similarities to UC, found 22 outside shots to their liking. They offered early and often resulting in nine made triples.
Cincinnati must have outside success if they are going to thrust four guards into action. Wednesday's win did divulge Cronin's proclivity to alternate between four guards and 2-3 guard sets.
Regardless of the lineup many shot attempts will fly from outside the paint.
Mbodj, Jackson, and even Gaines are unlikely to dump buckets of buckets into the mix. Cincinnati's lone post scorer (Yancy Gates) certainly experiences long term love affairs with his own jump shot.
Posted on 1/7 1:30 PM | IP: 126.96.36.199
Is God's Gift Achiuwa really that guy's name?
Posted on 1/7 1:35 PM | IP: 188.8.131.52
Yeah. He is Nigerian. Cincinnati actually recruited him very hard. They did well, but St. John's earned his commitment and UC eagerly accepted Cheikh Mbodj in his place.
Unfortunately Coach Mick Cronin believes Cheikh will never make it back to his top form this season. Ankle injury, suspension, and now return. For UC and Cheikh it looks like one year (2012-2013) of value.
All Coach Cronin wants from Cheikh right now is solid defense. He wants blocked shots and good positioning. Nothing more is asked of him this season according to Coach Cronin.
Posted on 1/7 1:42 PM | IP: 184.108.40.206
UC has had troubles with rebounding lately. I don't expect that to be a concern today. St. John's is not sound on the glass. They do not have fighters, mostly one-dimensional guards who derive pleasure from scoring and nothing else.
Moe Harkless leads the team in rebounds (8.1 rpg). STJ is one of the worst rebounding teams in the conference. Their opponents pull down over 36 rpg. As a point of comparison Cincinnati pulled down 37 rebounds against Oklahoma, 30 at Pitt, and 38 against Notre Dame.
Posted on 1/7 1:46 PM | IP: 220.127.116.11
The player I really like on St. John's is not Harkless. As great as he is freshman SG D'Angelo Harrison looks even better. He is averaging 20.4 ppg in the last five. I watched him play UConn. Facing some serious post road blocks he still got to the rim with ease.
The intangible that impresses me most is Harrison's patience. For a volume shooter he rarely forces a shot. Remember St. John's guys like Darryl "Showtime" Hill, Marcus Hatten, Felipe Lopez?
These guys shot all the time and thus scored a lot. Where Harrison seperates himself is that he passes up marginal shots for good shots. Discretion is the better part of valor. Isn't that a thing?
Look for Harrison to pump fake a three-pointer and drive patiently into the lane. He does it well.
Posted on 1/7 1:53 PM | IP: 18.104.22.168
Gametime! National Anthem under way.
Posted on 1/7 1:57 PM | IP: 22.214.171.124
UC starting SK, Dion, Cash, Park, and Justin Jackson.
Posted on 1/7 2:01 PM | IP: 126.96.36.199
STJ is running with the starting lineup listed above.
Posted on 1/7 2:03 PM | IP: 188.8.131.52
Here are the defensive matchups:
Dion Dixon guarding D'Angelo Harrison JaQuon Parker defends Sir'Dominic Pointer Sean Kilpatrick will check Moe Harkless (tough matchup) Justin Jackson has God's Gift Achiuwa in his sights Cashmere Wright is responsible for Phil Greene
Posted on 1/7 2:06 PM | IP: 184.108.40.206
St. John's has five starters who have a combined total of ZERO years of D1 college experience. UC has 8 years (about). I don't count Parker's sophomore year.
STJ leads 4-0 with 16:32 to play.
Posted on 1/7 2:08 PM | IP: 220.127.116.11
UC has forced 4 turnovers in 4 minutes. This extrapolates to 40 in 40 minutes if you don't want to do that math yourself.
The Bearcats are forcing 15.8 turnovers per. 40 is more than 15.
Posted on 1/7 2:11 PM | IP: 18.104.22.168
Jax back in for Sean Kilpatrick.
STJ leads 7-2 at 15:25.
Posted on 1/7 2:13 PM | IP: 22.214.171.124
UC misses ANOTHER 3-pointer, but Jax gets the follow. The Bearcats are also winning every loose ball, which bodes well for the flow of the game.
STJ still leads 7-4.
Posted on 1/7 2:14 PM | IP: 126.96.36.199
I would like to see some Kelvin Gaines today. Jax and Yancy both have 1 foul.
STJ leads 7-6 with 13:41.
Posted on 1/7 2:15 PM | IP: 188.8.131.52
Dion shooting terribly early. Just missed I believe his 3rd shot. All open looks.
UC goign with a new lineup. 3 subs off the bench together.
Guyn SK Jermaine Sanders Jax Cheikh Mbodj
Posted on 1/7 2:17 PM | IP: 184.108.40.206
Thanks to two straight buckets by SK, UC squares it at 10.
11:56 left 1st half. There will be a TV timeout RIGHT after this timeout (STJ called).
Posted on 1/7 2:18 PM | IP: 220.127.116.11
When Guyn and Sanders were running the offense it looked like junk. To be fair it was one possession, but they basically passed it back and forth for 30 seconds. Guyn wisely handed it to SK, who swiftly attacked the tin. Two points out of a failed possession.
Posted on 1/7 2:21 PM | IP: 18.104.22.168
Guyn and Sanders have awoken. Guyn pulls down defensive rebound over Jackson. Sanders gets long offensive rebound, heads to line on FT drawn.
UC leads 15-10 with 10:11.
Posted on 1/7 2:25 PM | IP: 22.214.171.124
UC continues to press. They have not thrown the double team at STJ yet, but it might be taking a toll. STJ only plays 7 guys.
Posted on 1/7 2:26 PM | IP: 126.96.36.199
First appearance for Jeremiah Davis. Cash back in.
UC leads 18-11 with 8:59 to play 1st half.
Posted on 1/7 2:28 PM | IP: 188.8.131.52
TV timeout. UC has captured control of the game. It appears a couple STJ players (Harkless, Pointer) are breathing extra hard this timeout. Perhaps UC pressure is getting to them. SK leads all scorers with 7 points.
He has become a fantastic 1st half scorer this last month. More it looks like SK is saving some for the second half today.
UC shooting 32% but they have 12 more FGA's than STJ.
Posted on 1/7 2:33 PM | IP: 184.108.40.206
We were just blessed with a vision of things to come from STJ. In a broken defensive play Amir Garrett flushed a glorious dunk through. Wow. Harkless, Garrett, and Harrison are future All-BIG EAST. They just need coaching, seasoning, muscle.
UC leads 22-15 after another SK 3.
Posted on 1/7 2:36 PM | IP: 220.127.116.11
Justin Jackson picks up his second foul, on an offensive rebound attempt. Both Jax and Yancy will likely sit the final 5 minutes of the first half.
Cheikh Mbodj and Park are the bigs for UC right now.
Posted on 1/7 2:37 PM | IP: 18.104.22.168
L4 minutes of 1st half. UC will run out
Guyn SK Dion Sanders Mbodj
UC leads 22-16.
Posted on 1/7 2:43 PM | IP: 22.214.171.124
UC is riding the back of Sean Kilpatrick into the half. No one else has shown a scoring comfort yet. SK has 13 with willingness to hit more if needed.
UC leads 25-18.
Posted on 1/7 2:46 PM | IP: 126.96.36.199
UC played very well for 10 minutes, average for 5, and awful for 5. That should be enough for a medium-sized lead. Unfortunately they enter the locker room barely ahead of the feisty St. John's freshmen.
UC leads 25-22 and 150 people boo refs while most growl to themselves. I guess today's attendance to be 7,000. Last game was 10,012 or something to that effect.
Parker B+ Gates D Dixon F Wright C Kilpatrick A+ Sanders D Mbodj C Guyn A-
Posted on 1/7 2:50 PM | IP: 188.8.131.52
I talked to some UC football players at halftime. Perhaps you will enjoy their perspective on the game.
Munchie Legaux says "I want to see Gates play more. They looked alright." He was sitting with Malcolm Murray, Clemente Casseus, and Bruce Horner. The quartet really perked up when we started talking NBA though.
Munchie, a high school SF, loves the Miami Heat and Lebron James. Murray isn't buying into the Lebron is King notion though. Also spotted in the crowd is CB Deven Drane and WR Alex Chisum.
Posted on 1/7 3:07 PM | IP: 184.108.40.206
STJ busted out of the locker room with 8-0 run. The Storm now lead 30-25.
Posted on 1/7 3:11 PM | IP: 220.127.116.11
Crowd in uproar. Yancy Gates was believed to be wacked on his arm twice. No calls. Then he gets called for an awkward sliding defense call.
Gates will play with 3 fouls with 16:26 to play. STJ leads 30-25.
Posted on 1/7 3:13 PM | IP: 18.104.22.168
Gates really looks rusty!
Posted on 1/7 3:14 PM | IP: 22.214.171.124
I guess I should have said...Gates is playing like a rusty gate...
Posted on 1/7 3:16 PM | IP: 126.96.36.199
Much like the first half UC opened up with zero points four minutes in. STJ PG Phil Greene is becoming more aggressive.
Posted on 1/7 3:16 PM | IP: 188.8.131.52
Always LOVE the puns. Yancy is now sitting. Cheikh Mbodj Cheikh's back into the game.
Posted on 1/7 3:17 PM | IP: 184.108.40.206
Officials wipe away a Justin Jackson bucket. The call is offensive goaltending. It was absurdly free of the rim when Jax put it back. That was the first call I truly believed to be awful.
Personally the Gates' no calls looked like clean blocks to me.
STJ leads 30-27.
Posted on 1/7 3:19 PM | IP: 220.127.116.11
Yancy Gates returns. The Bearcats have starting 3 guards with Jax and Yancy.
Jumping Jax is playing very assertively on offense. It is great to see UC using their size advantage. That hasn't been an option for over a month.
This guy Amir Garrett apparently was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds baseball team. I read he throws a 94-mph fastball. Look up more reading material on him if you are curious.
St. John's is putting a very real effort into discontinuing the UC 7-game winning streak. This was not supposed to be a close game, but St. John's is pushing the ball right into the craw of Cincinnati guards.
STJ leads 37-28.
Posted on 1/7 3:23 PM | IP: 18.104.22.168
Mick has benched all starting guards.
He is now playing three freshmen (Guyn, Sanders, Davis) with Parker and Mbodj.
Posted on 1/7 3:24 PM | IP: 22.214.171.124
I think Cincy needs to run St. Johns...get them tired quickly then take advantage.
Posted on 1/7 3:25 PM | IP: 126.96.36.199
Starters returning. Was Mick's brief benching helpful?
STJ leads 41-28.
Posted on 1/7 3:29 PM | IP: 188.8.131.52
UC finally pokes one home. Yancy dunks in traffic. The Cats trail by 13, but they believe again. That is important.
Gates at the line.
Posted on 1/7 3:32 PM | IP: 184.108.40.206
Dion Dixon = Zero points.
Cashmere Wright = 2 points.
Posted on 1/7 3:32 PM | IP: 220.127.116.11
I expected D'Angelo Harrison to be a problem. He is a confident scorer.
STJ leads 45-34.
Posted on 1/7 3:34 PM | IP: 18.104.22.168
SK converts three point play. SK draws charge after Dion gets beat nasty.
Posted on 1/7 3:35 PM | IP: 22.214.171.124
Also in attendance Liberty Bowl hero RB Ralph David Abernathy.
Posted on 1/7 3:37 PM | IP: 126.96.36.199
Pull Dion Dixon NOW. Cincinnati has three guys on the bench that can miss 5 straight outside shots. That is not a trait difficult to find.
STJ leads 47-37 with 6:33 to play.
Posted on 1/7 3:39 PM | IP: 188.8.131.52
It looks like UC will go with the following lineup til the end. Maybe one substitution.
Cash Dion SK Jax Yancy
This means no Parker. No freshmen. No Mbodj.
Posted on 1/7 3:43 PM | IP: 184.108.40.206
UC stops STJ on defensive end.
SK continues to shoot. Misses and STJ does not. The 7-point lead could have been 4 with an SK make. Instead UC trails by ten.