July 16, 2010

Time Capsule Tussle: 2003 Bearcats vs. 2011 Bearcats

The college basketball season ended three months ago and doesn't start for another three and half months. At no other calendar point is college hoops pushed further into the recesses of your sporting mind. In an attempt to summon the basketball spirits, BearcatReport will begin pitting the 2010-2011 Bearcat basketball team against past squads.

Stepping into the boxing ring first will be the 2002-2003 edition, a team that finished 17-12 (9-8).

Refresher

The '03 Bearcats waded through the shallow water that was Conference USA until late January, amassing an early 5-0 conference mark. Unfortunately, the boys hit a rough spot, skidding to 5-5 after dropping consecutive C-USA contests to DePaul, Marquette, Louisville, UNC Charlotte, and SLU.

The two landmark victories for the 2002-2003 teams were Oklahoma State and Louisville. OSU finished 22-10 on the shoulders of Memphis Grizzlie Tony Allen and the win briefly interrupted the aforementioned conference losing streak. Nearing the end of the season, with little left to play for UC stomped on the Cardinals 101-80, handing them just their fourth loss at that time (February 22).

Starting Lineups
2003 Bearcats = Team Relic
C Kareem Johnson
PF Jason Maxiell
G Leonard Stokes
SG Field Williams
PG Taron Barker

2011 Bearcats = Team Modern
C Yancy Gates
F Ibrahima Thomas
F Justin Jackson
SG Sean Kilpatrick
G Jaquon Parker

Key matchup

For a weather man, predicting the amount of rain can be a precarious supposition. For opposing coaches the task was drearily simple when facing UC in 2003. It was going to rain threes and rain threes for a long, long time. Combined Field Williams and Tony Bobbitt buried 127 triples, or 62% of the entire 2010 Cats.

Stifling Williams can be tough as his sneakiness is exceptional. The second Sean Kilpatrick doubles down on Jason Maxiell or freshman Eric Hicks, Williams will make Team Modern pay.

Team Relic faces a matchup quandary with Kilpatrick, a scoring machine. While Stokes expects to do a serviceable job checking him, it will leave Team Relic exposed on the wing. Field Williams has no chance of stopping any of Team Modern's forwards, whether it be Justin Jackson, Rashad Bishop, or Ibrahima Thomas.

The only scenario in which Relic's Williams does not get exposed involves a lazy, uninspired Bishop. As long as Bishop comes to play, Team Modern will have a certain secondary scoring option at the forward position.

Best hope for success

Team Relic can stagnate a touch when Leonard Stokes gets the ball in his hand. As the leading scorer he often gets asked to force the issue, leaving teammates slightly disinvested in the ensuing offensive possessions.

For Team Modern the difficulty is always shooting percentage. With Maxiell charging towards loose rebounds like a bull in Pamplona, Spain, Team Modern will get no second chances to make a good first impression on the net.

The backcourt will be key for Team Modern and Jaquon Parker needs to play to his potential. His athleticism and strength must play a big part in Team Modern's effort.

Depth

Team Relic has more players ready to contribute immediately as they check in. The freshmen are truly improving. Never to be confused for the Fab Five, this assortment of first year players sure could provide plenty of joy for UC fans in the years to come.

Freshmen Chadd Moore and Armien Kirkland look a touch raw, but Maxiell will find several rebounding pals in Hicks, Derek Hollman,and Kareem Johnson.

Of the rookies Relic rolls out, none are more skilled offensively than Bobbitt. He can score from all over the floor, most often teeing it up from deep.

Team Modern really likes to get Dion Dixon and Larry Davis into the game, but the pair rely heavily on ball movement to supply them with open looks. As Parker develops his vision and court awareness the hope is that these two will flourish accordingly.

Prediction

Team Relic will spread the floor and attack from too many different points. Having both Williams and Bobbitt clicking makes Relic hard to guard. There are not many pivot players who haul down more offensive rebounds than Maxiell. Expect a lot of garbage buckets for this blue-collar worker.

Final Score: 61-57.

Maxiell will lead Team Relic in points and rebounds, while Kilpatrick delivers a predictably efficient 14 points to lead Team Modern.


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