Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Know Your Opponent: Villanova Wildcats edition

Tonight at 7 on ESPN2 , the Cincinnati Bearcats host the mighty Villanova Wildcats in the final regular season home game. I beg you one last time to come early for the Senior Day activities, and to give a great showing of support to Deonta Vaughn. And also to Steve Toyloy. I thanked both in this post, and feel free to thank them there as well. It should be quite special. In the midst of all the thanking, there is a very important game to be played. The Bearcats are currently on the outside looking in for the Big Dance, while Nova has been struggling as of late, losing 3 of 4. Granted they were to UConn, Pitt and Syracuse, but Nova seems ripe for a beating. Then again, Mick Cronin has never, eeeeevvvvveeeerrrrr, as Chris Jericho used to say, won a game in March at Cincinnati. It's going to take quite the effort from the men in white to get over the hump. The Bearcats haven't beaten a team ahead of them in the standings this season, and last I checked, Nova is up in second. In times like this, all we can do is cheer for victory, and cheer for #5. That's exactly what our friends at the great Villanova site I Bleed Blue and White will be doing, except probably not. In lieu of a Bearcats logo, I'm going to use a picture of Deonta Vaughn. He deserves it. Let's hit the numbers.

All stats taken from KenPom.com, the Polls, and the school's sites. RPI from RealTimeRPI.com
For reference, there are 347 teams in the NCAA
Record: 16-12, 7-9
KenPom Rank: 63
RPI: 58
AP/USA Today Rank: NR
Strength of Schedule (KenPom/RealTime): 23/14
Tempo: 66.7 (207)
Offensive Ratings (Rank)
Points Per Game: 69.9
Efficiency: 106.5 (100)
Effective FG%: 49.2 (152)
Turnover %: 20.1 (141)
Off. Rebound %: 37.9 (26)
FTA/FGA: 32.6 (298)
3%: 28.7 (317)
2%: 51.4 (50)
FT%: 62.1 (331)
Point Distribution (% of total points)
3: 24.4 (242)
2: 58.6 (29)
FT: 17.1 (325)

Defensive Ratings (Rank)
Points Per Game: 65.9
Efficiency: 92.6 (47)
Effective FG%: 46.2 (61)
Turnover %: 17.6 (315)
Off. Rebound %: 28.9 (35)
FTA/FGA: 35.7 (134)
3%: 33.2 (127)
2%: 44.4 (50)
Block %: 8.4 (195)
Steal %: 8.2 (282)
Point Distribution (% of total points)
3: 28.3 (129)
2: 50.7 (207)
FT: 21 (178)
Statistical Leaders
Points (top 3): Lance Stephenson 11.6 Deonta Vaughn 11.3 Yancy Gates 10.6 
Rebounds (top 3): Yancy Gates 6.1 Lance Stephenson 5.2 Ibrahima Thomas 5
Assists (top 2): Deonta Vaughn 3.5 Lance Stephenson 2.4 
Blocks: Yancy Gates 0.9

Record: 23-5, 12-4
KenPom Rank: 14
RPI: 8
AP/USA Today Rank: 9/9
Strength of Schedule (KenPom/RealTime): 15/32
Tempo: 73.4 (11)
Offensive Ratings (Rank)
Points Per Game: 83.6 
Efficiency: 118.7 (6)
Effective FG%: 52.8 (40)
Turnover %: 18.8 (90)
Off. Rebound %: 38.8 (19)
FTA/FGA: 42.5 (70)
3%: 37.1 (59)
2%: 51.3 (56)
FT%: 75.6 (10)
Point Distribution (% of total points)
3: 27.4 (156)
2: 49.3 (255)
FT: 23.3 (61)

Defensive Ratings (Rank)
Points Per Game: 72.8
Efficiency: 93.5 (55)
Effective FG%: 47 (87)
Turnover %: 21.6 (100)
Off. Rebound %: 31.5 (122)
FTA/FGA: 49.7 (332)
3%: 33.4 (140)
2%: 45 (69)
Block %: 11.5 (62)
Steal %: 11 (79)
Point Distribution (% of total points)
3: 29.7 (78)
2: 43.1 (343)
FT: 27.2 (5)
Statistical Leaders
Points (top 3): Scottie Reynolds 18.9 Corey Fisher 13.8 Antonio Pena 11.1 
Rebounds (top 3): Antonio Pena 7.5 Taylor King 5.8 Reggie Redding 4.6 
Assists (top 2): Corey Fisher 4.1 Scottie Reynolds 3.3 
Blocks: Maurice Sutton 0.9 Mouphtaou Yarou 0.9

Villanova is a very good offensive team who plays fast. Cincinnati needs to slow this game down. Seeing as Cincinnati has played to the opponents strength seemingly all season, we will run with them. Scottie Reynolds is 2-1 in his career versus UC, but in the 2 wins he's scored 9, and 11. In the loss, 32. So it's very easy to say that if Scottie Reynolds goes nuts, Cincinnati is going to win. In fact, mark it down. All kidding aside, it's going to take a great defensive effort tonight. Nova's defense has been lacking in their losses, but the last win they had, South Florida scored 49 points. I see this being an all or none game for the Bearcats. Either they are going to hold it together and give a great effort, or they are going to get the Syracuse treatment. For Deonta Vaughn's sake, I hope that doesn't happen. He deserves to go out on a high note. 

I'm going to throw out a couple predictions before the who I think is going to win prediction. I think that Reynolds will be held in check, but Corey Fisher will not. He needs to be contained. Steve Toyloy, Ibrahima Thomas and Yancy Gates are going to have their hands full with Antonio Pena, and they need to perform. Villanova is one of the foulingest (it's a word now) teams in the nation as you can see by the opponents free throw rate, and the percentage of points off free throws, so it's very important to knock them down. We can not afford to leave points at the line tonight. After the abysmal effort, 14-32, against DePaul, UC shot 13-15 against West Virginia, so that was a good improvement. I think the play of Lance Stephenson is going to continue to be stellar. Ever since he said he wasn't playing up to NBA standards, he's been playing up to NBA standards. 

I hope that Deonta Vaughn has a great game tonight. He's had a down season for sure, and the team needs him to make the NCAA Tourney, and they need him to beat Nova. I believe in Deonta, probably too much, and I think that the Bearcats spring the upset. Or lose by 25. But I'm predicting upset. 

Prediction: Cincinnati 77 Villanova 75

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