Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cincinnati v. Weber State Wildcats NIT Preview

For the first time a few years, the Cincinnati Bearcats are ready to play in a post season tournament. It's the NIT, but hey, it's better than nothing. At least, I'm guessing that it's better than nothing. After last week's run in the Big East Tournament, I wasn't ready to say goodbye to this team, so the extra game(s) should be fun to watch. Unless Cincinnati pulls an Arizona State and doesn't care, then it would be no fun. The game tonight is at 7 pm on ESPN2. Also, Rashad Bishop is still suspended for this game. He may return later in the tournament. Before we hit the preview, let's run down the NIT action from last night.

  • 4 Connecticut 59 5 Northeastern 57
  • 6 North Carolina State 58 3 South Florida 57
  • 2 UAB 64 7 Coastal Carolina 49
  • 5 Texas Tech 87 4 Seton Hall 69
  • 1 Mississippi State 81 8 Jackson State 67
  • 8 Jacksonville 67 1 Arizona State 66

KenPom Offense/Defense Rank: 111/57
Notable Stats: 19 in Offensive Rebound % (38.8), 297 in Free Throw Rate (32.3), 330 in 3 pt % (29), 332 in FT % (62).


  1. Deonta Vaughn 30.2
  2. Lance Stephenson 28.4
  3. Yancy Gates 25.6
  4. Cashmere Wright 18.3
  5. Ibrahima Thomas 17.7

  1. Lance Stephenson 12.3
  2. Deonta Vaughn 11.1
  3. Yancy Gates 10.7
  4. Ibrahima Thomas 5.5
  5. Cashmere Wright 5.4

  1. Yancy Gates 6
  2. Lance Stephenson 5.4
  3. Ibrahima Thomas 5.3
  4. Steve Toyloy 3.5
  5. Deonta Vaughn 3.5

  • Deonta Vaughn 3.4
  • Lance Stephenson 2.4

  • Deonta Vaughn 1.1

  • Yancy Gates 0.8

KenPom Offense/Defense Rate: 74/160
Notable Stats: 271 in Opponent's 3 pt % (36.2), 263 in Opponent's FT Rate (263).
Also Notable: They are the team that blew the 20 point halftime lead in the second half to Montana.


  1. Damian Lillard 34.3
  2. Franklin Session 31.4
  3. Nick Hansen 29.5
  4. Kyle Bullinger 25.9
  5. Steve Panos 21

  1. Damian Lillard 19.7
  2. Steve Panos 10.8
  3. Franklin Session 10.6
  4. Nick Hansen 9.2
  5. Kyle Bullinger 8.9

  1. Franklin Session 6
  2. Steve Panos 5.3
  3. Kyle Bullinger 4.2
  4. Damian Lillard 4.1
  5. Darin Mahoney 3.7

  • Damian Lillard 3.7
  • Franklin Session 2.8
  • Lindsay Hughey 2

  • Franklin Session 1.8
  • Damian Lillard 1.1
  • Nick Hansen 1
  • Lindsay Hughey 1

  • Franklin Session 0.9

The Wildcats have a very short bench. Only 7 men have played every game, and only 8 have played 28. They only go 8 deep, so if Cincinnati can get them in foul trouble, one would think that it would pay off for the Bearcats. I expect UC to try and press this team, but it might not work that well with Weber St's good passing. The conference tournaments ended poorly for both teams, with Weber St getting bounced after blowing a huge lead, and Cincinnati getting beat on an infamous turnover and a buzzer beater against West Virginia.

The esteemed Ken Pom computer rankings have Cincinnati winning by 12. I think that's probably going to happen. Maybe that's a little arrogant, but I think UC should have little problem putting the Wildcats away. I say that knowing full well that Cincinnati has put no one away, but after what we saw in the BET, I think the Bearcats have turned a corner. With Rashad Bishop out, Darnell Wilks and Jaquan Parker should get some more run. Wilks was impressive in New York, and Parker continued to play solid. I would like to see Dion Dixon, my best friend, get some kind of redemption after his blunder, but that may be wishing too much. Should Cincinnati advance, they would play the winner of the Dayton/Illinois St game, also being played tonight. If Cincinnati loses, this is the last you'll hear of the NIT besides the game recap. I don't think the Bearcats run ends tonight though. I'm looking for Lance Stephenson to play on the higher level he's been, Yancy Gates to want the ball inside, and I'm going out on a limb and saying Ibrahima Thomas has a big game.

Prediction: Cincinnati 70 Weber State 57

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