Big East NCAA Tournament Capsules: CincinnatiPosted by Dan Lyons on March 22nd, 2013
Cincinnati came into the year as one of the favorites for a top four finish in the Big East, and that looked like a good bet through non-conference play. However, the Bearcats were totally inconsistent all season once the Big East schedule began, and after an injury to guard Cashmere Wright in January, Cincinnati has struggled to put points on the board. Wins over Iowa State, Oregon, Pittsburgh, Marquette, and Villanova were enough to get the Bearcats into the tournament, but Cincinnati was probably a game or two from being in serious bubble talks.
Seed: No. 10
Record: 22-11 (9-9 Big East)
Matchup: v. Creighton in Philadelphia, PA
Key Player: Sean Kilpatrick is far and away the most important Bearcat. He is the team’s leader in minutes, points, and is just .6 rebounds off of Titus Rubles pace for the team lead in that category, and he’s doing it from the guard position. On a team that often struggles to find the bottom of the net, Kilpatrick is the only consistent option, and the opposition knows it, which helps explain the low shooting percentages for the Yonkers native.
Key Stat: While the Bearcats struggle to score, they’re good at passing on that problem to their opponents with an imposing in-your-face defense. Cincinnati is 24th in the nation in points allowed with 58.8 per game, and hold opposing teams to just 38.5% shooting from the field. Combine that with strong rebounding and a slow pace, and the Bearcats can grind out a lot of games.
Best-Case Scenario: JaQuon Parker spends the entire opening game stalking Doug McDermott around the court, and is able to keep the Creighton star in check, while the rest of the Bearcats do a good job of putting the clamps on the ‘Jays. Cincinnati wins a classic low-scoring affair and advances to face Duke. They do their best to drag down the pace of that game as well, and are able to disrupt the Duke offense, but not enough to knock off Coach K’s team, and they drop a close one in the round of 32.
Worst-Case Scenario: McDermott makes his entrance to the NCAA tournament well-known, and drops 30 on Cincinnati. Kilpatrick attempts to answer, and puts together a solid game, but the Bearcats aren’t able to put together enough offense to keep pace with the Bluejays, and they drop a tough one in their opening game.