Cincinnati (16-7, 6-4) takes on St. John's (10-13, 4-7) this evening. Coverage is not live from NYC, and I will be watching on television along with most of you. Saturday is a different story. Once again BearcatReport.com hits the road. Cincinnati Enquirer Bill Koch is the only reporter to make more road trips yet again this season.
As for the Johnnies UC players are disgusted with the way they lost earlier in the season. This game will be the first rematch of the season and Cincinnati will be invested emotionally as well as physically.
Despite the challenge remember how little NCAA Selection Committee thinks of St. John's. A loss would be painful when grouped with Presbyterian, Rutgers, and St. John's. Need to capture a tough road win tonight.
Posted on 2/8 5:22 PM | IP: 18.104.22.168
A few notes from the UC Sports Information Department:
--Cincinnati is looking to snap a two-game road losing streak. The pair of setbacks ended the Bearcats' school record seven-game BIG EAST road win streak. UC has won 9 of last 12 road games overall dating back to last season.
--Sean Kilpatrick leads the Bearcat attack averaging 15.4 points this season. He averages 2.7 three-pointers per contest and is shooting 39.1% from behind the arc. Kilpatrick has scored in double figures 20 times in 23 games.
--The 2011-2012 Bearcats have a Cronin-era record four players averaging 10 or more points a game. SK (15.4), Dion Dixon (13.7), Yancy Gates (12.6), and Cashmere Wright (10.7).
Posted on 2/8 5:36 PM | IP: 22.214.171.124
My number one worry is Dion Dixon. Earlier in the season I discussed his annual conference cooling off. Then he slapped a Big East Player of the Week honor in my face.
Unfortunately he has tapered off since that well-earned honor. Dion is shooting 37.5% (12-32) from the field in his last three games. I thought that was pretty poor until I noticed he is shooting 37.4% FOR THE SEASON.
These are starting BIG East guards shooting better than Dion from the floor.
All UConn, DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Providence, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Syracuse, Villanova, and West Virginia guards!!!
He is virtually tied with Peyton Siva and Russ Smith of Louisville. Victor Rudd Jr. of South Florida is worse.
Tonight you will see Phil Greene play for St. John's and he shoots worse than Dixon at 36.0%.
To me Dion is a tough one, because you can't simply remove him. He has streaky tendencies, scores well in transition, and shoots amazing in late-game free throw spots. But for this team to become first tier Big East again the lone senior guard has to show some perimeter discretion.
Posted on 2/8 5:50 PM | IP: 126.96.36.199
Since I know Dion can shoot I quickly looked up his three point success stories. Through ten Big East games I see two.
4-7 against Villanova. 57.1% Great job! 3-5 @ Rutgers. 60.0% Outstanding!!
Now for the bad stat lines.
3-point shooting 1-3 Pitt 1-7 Notre Dame 0-5 St. John's 1-5 Georgetown 2-8 UConn 2-9 West Virginia 1-6 Syracuse 0-4 DePaul
Including his two great performances Dixon is shooting 25.4% from deep in conference play. If Dion Dixon were his own team he would rank 17th in Big East 3-point shooting behind atrocious St. John's (27.1%).
Posted on 2/8 5:59 PM | IP: 188.8.131.52
A player I have been significantly impressed by is Yancy Gates. His scoring has dipped a little, but aggression and rebounding numbers are soaring.
Last year Yancy Gates pulled down 2.17 offensive rebounds per game. This season Gates has 3.06 offensive rebounds per. Remember Yancy missed games against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Chicago State, and Miami (OH) where he would have boosted this figure.
Just Big East numbers, Gates is pulling down 3.33 offensive rebounds a night. His best effort occured against UConn, traditionally the best rebounding team in the country.
For a player that can infuriate fans, reporters, and coaches with his apathy this trend is very encouraging.
Posted on 2/8 6:13 PM | IP: 184.108.40.206
St. John's will be without Malik Stith tonight and likely the rest of the season.
St. John's Press Release
"For personal reasons Malik has chosen to no longer participate as a member of our basketball team. Beginning next week he will no longer be an active student-athlete, but he will continue to add value to our basketball family and work toward completing his St. John's degree," said Lavin. "We'll miss Malik's contributions on the court but we are pleased he will continue as a member of our basketball program in his new capacity with the Johnnies."
"For personal reasons I have chosen to step aside as a member of the St. John's basketball team," said Stith. "Right now I feel that I need to do what is best for my family. I am grateful for the opportunities given to me at St. John's and pleased to be able to continue to make progress toward my degree. Coach Lavin and I have met and talked over the past couple days about my future and the interest I have in contributing to the team as a student-worker."
Stith, the only returning varsity letterwinner on this year's Red Storm squad, played in all 23 games to date, starting five, and averaging 14.6 minutes and 2.6 points per contest. He had contributed in 81 career contests and averaged 2.4 points per game.
Posted on 2/8 6:18 PM | IP: 220.127.116.11
On ESPNU Andy Katz came on and addressed the future addition of Memphis basketball to Big East. Katz rattled off seven teams expected to be powers and completely bypassed Cincinnati. Ridiculous.
He said Memphis Coach Josh Pastner sees this as a new Big East, not exactly the same with Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and West Virginia leaving. Then Andy added his own view that Memphis would be able to compete with the likes of Georgetown, Villanova, Marquette, Notre Dame, Louisville, and Connecticut.
Laughable that Cincinnati was completely overlooked. Coach Cronin's program apparently doesn't have the sex appeal Katz covets.
Posted on 2/8 6:46 PM | IP: 18.104.22.168
This evening is a college basketball lover's dream. Games worthy of perusal in addition to Cincinnati @ St. John's.
Kansas @ Baylor Duke @ North Carolina Penn State @ Michigan State Georgetown @ Syracuse (opposite UC game) Notre Dame @ West Virginia Seton Hall @ Rutgers
A couple of sneaky good games: Northern Iowa @ Wichita State LSU @ Vanderbilt
Watching all these games will be easier if UC can pound STJ to begin the night. Tip time in minutes.
Posted on 2/8 6:53 PM | IP: 22.214.171.124
Tonight the Bearcats are going with
Cash Dion SK Park Yancy
Posted on 2/8 6:55 PM | IP: 126.96.36.199
Man UConn has been a real letdown this year. That win @UConn means a lot less if they continue to lose this often. Already the Huskies, whom several media outlets predicted to reach Final Four, have six conference losses.
Posted on 2/8 6:59 PM | IP: 188.8.131.52
What do you think about Pitt this year?
Posted on 2/8 7:01 PM | IP: 184.108.40.206
Pitt's demise was really tough to swallow for me. They are a great enemy for the Bearcats in both football/basketball. A case could be made that Cincinnati started their fall from grace with a great season-opening win in their house.
Posted on 2/8 7:04 PM | IP: 220.127.116.11
Haha, "Coach Cronin was the only one who handled it the right way."
Oops Coach Mack.
Posted on 2/8 7:05 PM | IP: 18.104.22.168
5-second call on J Park. 2-3 zone getting stretched wide.
UC leads 4-0.
Posted on 2/8 7:06 PM | IP: 22.214.171.124
Cats have not really turned over teams with their press this year. Most of the turnovers are in halfcourt set, with quick hands. I still worry about perimeter defense when the STJ guards force Cash and SK to move their feet.
Staying in the zone might help keep the guards out of the zone, but it might also lead to extra Yancy Gates fouls.
STJ leads 5-4 with 16:02 to play.
Posted on 2/8 7:09 PM | IP: 126.96.36.199
I am still in awe of Amir Garrett, not for his exceptional basketball skill rather his live arm. Talked about this last time UC played St. John's but Garrett could have played minor league baseball instead of college basketball. Check out his youtube video.
St. John's has a tricky zone to decipher. It is a 3-2 but the guards seem to have a lot of freedom to drop off or bounce outside. I think UC will be more successful against their man-to-man defense.
STJ leads 5-4 with 5-4.
Posted on 2/8 7:14 PM | IP: 188.8.131.52
LOVE the offensive maturation of Justin Jackson. For the first time in his career I am trusting his dribbling skills.
Uh oh. Jax in pain.
Posted on 2/8 7:16 PM | IP: 184.108.40.206
Defensive transition HAS to be better guys. Dig deeper when retreating.
UC leads 12-9. Looks like Jermaine Sanders will be coming in.
Posted on 2/8 7:19 PM | IP: 220.127.116.11
Big news out of Louisville. Freshman Wayne Blackshear has been medically cleared to play. Blackshear is a five-star shooting guard out of Chicago, Illinois. I don't know where he is at with fitness, but this could impact the Cincinnati-Louisville game later this month.
Posted on 2/8 7:21 PM | IP: 18.104.22.168
It seems the Bearcats can't hold on to the ball...lots of quick hands out there hittting it away?
Posted on 2/8 7:25 PM | IP: 22.214.171.124
Dion shoots lowest of low percentage. Air ball.
Highest of high percentage. Dunk.
Trend towards high percentage DDD. Please.
UC leads 18-15 with 7:10 to play.
Posted on 2/8 7:26 PM | IP: 126.96.36.199
STJ is taking a lot of jump shots. Have to feel good about that. Gates to the line.
UC leads 20-15 late first half.
Posted on 2/8 7:30 PM | IP: 188.8.131.52
Is Mick playing Jermaine Sanders because he is from NYC or because Justin Jackson is hurt? Hmmm.
UC leads 23-15 with 5:11 to play.
Posted on 2/8 7:33 PM | IP: 184.108.40.206
2 on Yancy.
Posted on 2/8 7:34 PM | IP: 220.127.116.11
Jax is back. Training staff must feel there is no danger of significant damage. Good.
UC leads 23-17 with 4:00 to play.
Posted on 2/8 7:35 PM | IP: 18.104.22.168
Cash spotted an exhausted defender and blew by. Love the composure and patience by Cash early.
Posted on 2/8 7:36 PM | IP: 22.214.171.124
LOVE that Coach Cronin is going deep into bench early. Drag these short-handed Johnnies into fatigue.
Posted on 2/8 7:38 PM | IP: 126.96.36.199
Cashmere Wright already has six rebounds. Astonishing. His career high is seven, which he achieved twice (West Virginia, Georgia).
UC leads 28-17 in the final minutes of half.
Posted on 2/8 7:41 PM | IP: 188.8.131.52
The Bearcats have 25!!! first half rebounds.
Posted on 2/8 7:43 PM | IP: 184.108.40.206
GREAT half for Cincinnati!! Don't play lethargic out of the locker room, but extremely encouraging beginning.
UC leads 30-19 midway home.
Posted on 2/8 7:44 PM | IP: 220.127.116.11
First Half Report Card
B Yancy Gates A+ Cashmere Wright A- Dion Dixon B Sean Kilpatrick (7 rebounds) B Justin Jackson C Jermaine Sanders D Kelvin Gaines D Cheikh Mbodj C Ge'Lawn Guyn A JaQuon Parker
Posted on 2/8 7:51 PM | IP: 18.104.22.168
UGH!!! Cats came out flat. Why!?! Why!?! Why!? You know that they were told it would take 5-7 strong minutes to bury St. John's. Now they have re-opened the game up.
UC calls timeout up 32-24.
Posted on 2/8 8:04 PM | IP: 22.214.171.124
Cats get a bucket after nearly-failed 4-on-1.
Stop the penetration by STJ and this game will evaporate .
STJ transition defense is suffering, perhaps from Cincinnati's deeper rotation.
UC leads 39-24 with 17:01 to play.
Posted on 2/8 8:07 PM | IP: 126.96.36.199
Dixon and Cash sink into 2-3 zone. St. John's really hasn't slashed well tonight. Cincinnati can live all day with the Red Storm shooting mid to long range jumpers.
I believe I saw St. John's is 320th in the nation in FG%.
Posted on 2/8 8:09 PM | IP: 188.8.131.52
SK has such a quick release. Considering how limited his elevation he still scores easily.
Posted on 2/8 8:11 PM | IP: 184.108.40.206
Very, very patient passes by the Bearcats tonight. They are playing like veterans against an inexperienced opponent.
Posted on 2/8 8:15 PM | IP: 220.127.116.11
Lots of minutes for Jermaine Sanders tonight. And Cheikh Mbodj is giving UC improved defensive play. Blocking shots, starting breaks.
UC leads 46-28.
Posted on 2/8 8:18 PM | IP: 18.104.22.168
When was the last time the Cats were up by 20?
Posted on 2/8 8:20 PM | IP: 22.214.171.124
@Cat Follower Great observation. Looking it up.
Posted on 2/8 8:26 PM | IP: 126.96.36.199
Cincinnati beat Notre Dame by 16 points, but has not led by 20 points since December 23rd (Chicago State).
Posted on 2/8 8:31 PM | IP: 188.8.131.52
Cincinnati has not led a Big East team by 20 points since March 9th (South Florida). Great catch Cat Follower.
Posted on 2/8 8:34 PM | IP: 184.108.40.206
Thanks....amazing what stats exist!
Posted on 2/8 8:35 PM | IP: 220.127.116.11
Though the game is out of hand, beautiful offensive rebound/put back by Yancy Gates.
Coach Cronin going with Park, Dixon, SK, JD3, and Yancy.
UC leads 60-34.
Posted on 2/8 8:40 PM | IP: 18.104.22.168
Trying to find the last time Cincinnati led by 30 in a Big East game. This one is going to be tricky.
Posted on 2/8 8:47 PM | IP: 22.214.171.124
I was thinking that but didn't want to ask. Thanks.
Posted on 2/8 8:48 PM | IP: 126.96.36.199
looks so that the Bearcats shall get the win. The points are widely spread by each starting player at least having 5 or more points. The cats are rebounding the basketball very well, which will help them get a win and use that momentum, when they face Marquette.
Posted on 2/8 8:55 PM | IP: 188.8.131.52
With a win Cincinnati moves into a tie for fifth place. They could become a fourth place team with a Notre Dame loss this evening. And if Georgetown loses (likely) the Cats are just a half game out of third place. They could leap higher with a win at Marquette Saturday.
That venue is insanely difficult though.
Syracuse 10-1* Marquette 9-3 Georgetown 8-3* Notre Dame 7-3* Louisville 7-4 Cincinnati 7-4 USF 6-4 West Virginia 6-5 UConn 5-6
* -- playing tonight.
Posted on 2/8 8:55 PM | IP: 184.108.40.206
It's great to see the smiles from St. John's starters. Eeven though they are losing by a boatload they like to see their teammates get a lifelong memory playing.
Posted on 2/8 8:57 PM | IP: 220.127.116.11
Cincinnati wins 76-54. Cashmere Wright sets a career high with ten rebounds. He has NEVER led the team in rebounding before.