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November 12, 2012

Dream Meeting: MVSU

The 2012-2013 season looks very promising for the Cincinnati Bearcats, but before their competitive slate starts, the veteran squad faces a few less intriguing matchups to begin the season.

Tuesday night the Bearcats face off with the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils. The little known school down south is primarily known for being the alma mater of NFL Hall of Famer, Jerry Rice. However, the basketball squad is coming off of an NCAA Tournament appearance and is a program on the rise.

Even in a strong year, the Delta Devils don't pose much of a threat to the Bearcats; yet in matching up the five best Mississippi Valley State ballplayers against this year's Cincinnati squad brings a little more intrigue to the matchup.

The following is an envisioned matchup between MVSU's greatest players of All-Time pitted against the current Bearcats.

Point Guard


The point guard spot for the Delta Devils is led by current Athletic Director and MVSU veteran, Ashley Robinson. The lead guard is more finesse, slender; however, don't question the kid's heart and tenacity. He is not known for being a big time scorer, but most would much rather have a floor general at the point than a selfish, score-first ballplayer.

The Mississippi-native averaged over 36 minutes per game from his sophomore year on and put up 7.4 assists per game as a sophomore and eclipsed double figures in dimes 12 times in his career. Robinson played in 113 games during his time at MVSU and though he only averaged 10 points per game throughout his career, he was able to average over two steals per game as an upperclassman.

Robinson brings a solid IQ and leadership to the forefront of the point guard position for his team, but the battle with his point guard counterpart, Cashmere Wright, would be a very intriguing matchup. Robinson has a ton of experience, yet Wright also brings just the same and has more of a winning background when compared to Robinson.

Throw in the argument that Wright has a four inch height advantage and over 20 pounds to his frame and the Bearcat wins this matchup mainly due to his physical upside.

EDGE: Cincinnati

Shooting Guard


The shooting guard position for MVSU would be held down by one of the most prolific scorers in NCAA basketball history in the likes of Alphonso Ford. What the 6'4 off guard was able to do during his time in the college ranks is nothing short of extraordinary. The scorer amassed 3,165 points in his career and sits fourth all-time in scoring in NCAA history.

In his freshman year, Ford averaged 29.9 points per game and as a sophomore, the guard averaged 32.9 points per game (second in the nation just behind the prolific, Bo Kimble). In a game against Texas Southern his freshman year, Ford scored 51 points and in another game his senior year, the scorer tallied 18 made free-throws.

He was named to the first team of his conference in each year he played and averaged over 25 points per game each season. The Mississippi-native was drafted 32nd overall by the Philadelphia 76ers and then went on to become one of the top scorers in the Euroleague's storied history.

Ford faces a tough defense in All-Big East guard, Sean Kilpatrick. As well all know, Kilpatrick is one of the most well-rounded guards in the entire nation; however, Ford is a type of scorer that does not exist in college basketball this season.

The fact that he ranks fourth all-time in scoring in college basketball history just behind the legendary "Pistol" Pete Maravich, is impressive in its own right. If anyone can get the better of a matchup with Kilpatrick this season, it would have to be someone of Ford's nature.

EDGE: Mississippi Valley State All-Time Team

Off Guard


The third guard position would be filled by DeWayne Jefferson.

The 6'2 guard led all of America in scoring his senior year with 23.6 points per game. During this highlight season for Jefferson, he was able to hit 107 three-pointers (around four made per game). Although the scorer only played his final two years of college ball at MVSU, the talent was able to help turn the program around.

There was a 12-win difference between his first and second year on campus. Jefferson could also fill up the stat sheet where he averaged over six rebounds and close to three assists per game as a senior and shot 43% from the floor.

Pairing Jefferson with Ford would be a very heavy scoring punch at the off guard positions. Facing off with Jefferson would be Cincinnati guard, JaQuon Parker.

The Cincinnati and MVSU backcourts are very similar in which both teams favor a three guard, height-deficient set. Though improving offensively, Parker is not known for his scoring abilities and he would have to put much of his energy into stopping, or at least slowing down Jefferson. It would be a very tough battle and though Parker boasts an extra inch and 30 pounds to his frame, the advantage has to go towards the Delta Devils at this spot.

EDGE: Mississippi Valley State All-Time Team
Power Forward

The power forward position is controlled by 1998 graduated, Kenyon Ross.

The 6'6 combo forward brings a lot of versatility to the floor and is a mismatch problem waiting to happen. Though Ross really didn't show off a consistent three-point jumper during his playing days, his ability to grab tons of boards along with playing the passing lanes efficiently makes Ross as a guy that is difficult to game plan for because of his blue collar nature on the floor.

The junior college transfer averaged 9.7 rebounds per game for his career and brought down close to 11 per game as a senior. He was also able to dish out around three assists per game, and close to two steals and two blocks throughout his career.

On the Bearcats end, Justin Jackson would have to slow down Ross primarily with his energy and fundamentals on the glass. Ross is known for hitting the glass with a vengeance and if the unproven Bearcat does not use his height advantage in altering Ross's shots around the bucket, then the matchup might fall into the Ross's lap.

EDGE: EVEN

Center


The center position is manned down by Marcus Mann.

The 6'8 big left a giant impression on the Southwestern Athletic Conference during his two-year stay on campus where he averaged 19.3 points per game and 12.7 rebounds per game.

The junior college transfer led all of Division-1 basketball in rebounding his senior year averaging 13.6 boards per game. He led his MVSU squad to only their third NCAA Tournament berth in his final year of eligibility and was the first player in the school's history to earn SWAC Player of the Year honors. Mann went on to be selected 40th overall in the NBA Draft in 1996. The big man, weighing in at 245 pounds, would cause some major problems down low for the Bearcats.

Senegal-native, Cheikh Mbodj might have his hands full with this matchup. Though the African does not give up anything physically, it is the experience of Mann that will be hard to overcome. Mann has an already developed skillset and the big-time rebounder has a large advantage here.

EDGE: Mississippi Valley State All-Time Team

Outcome


The matchup between the Delta Devils and the Bearcats is one with balance and versatility across the board. Cincinnati brings a lot of veteran experience to the floor; and yet Kilpatrick, maybe Cash are the only prolific scorers capable of contributing with this elite bunch. The SWAC school looks to get up and down the floor whenever the chance is given and Cincinnati is currently attempting to ramp up their tempo too.

Forty minutes will unveil the powerful one-two scoring punch of MVSU. Two of the best scorer's in recent years in Alphonso Ford and DeWayne Jefferson will be too difficult to overcome and the underdogs pull out the upset, 84-75.

Even when Ford and Jefferson couldn't find the hoop, the rebounding presence of Ross and Mann down low overpowers the unproven Bearcat bigs.

Cincinnati guard, Sean Kilpatrick, is able to keep the Big East squad in the game for the first 30 minutes, but even his 28 points are not enough to handle the feisty Devils. Ashley Robinson tallies a career high 15 assists and the Delta Devils run away with a very rare road victory at Fifth Third Arena.

The Bearcats are now 1-1 against All-Time rosters. Next matchup will be North Carolina A&T.


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