Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Why We Should Root for West Virginia

By 'Why We Should Root for West Virginia', we obviously mean why we should root for Bob Huggins. It's a complicated issue. So complicated, that tomorrow there will be a 'Why We Shouldn't Root for West Virginia' entry. That's right, we are breaking this thing down from all angles. Put on your scuba gear, because we are getting deep.

We should root for West Virginia for the following reasons:

  • Bob Huggins
That was stated up at the top yes, but it's worth pointing out and going in depth about. In fact, I'm breaking out the numbers, creating chaos.

  1.  Bob Huggins was the greatest coach in Cincinnati modern history. He brought us titles in the Great Midwest and Conference USA. He raised Cincinnati's profile so, that UC was offered a spot in the Big East. That's been a huge boon for the football team. More importantly, he made the C stand for something. 
  2. He took us to the NCAA Tournament from 1992-2004. He took us to the Final Four. He took us to 2 other Elite 8s as we all know. Him taking West Virginia to the title would almost be cathartic. It would be like Cincinnati winning the National Title. 
  3. He's one of our guys, and don't you always have to pull for our guys to win?
  4. He brought in All Americans like Danny Fortson, Kenyon Martin, and Steve Logan, and has built up a roster like some old UC teams. They play just like late 90s UC did, and it brings back some memories. If only he broke out the 1-3-1 to beat UK more at UC. 
  5. Lastly, he wears a track suit. I mean, how ridiculous is this? How can you hate on the man, when he doesn't care about how he looks? How can you not laugh when he's dressed like a gym teacher? 

  • They are from the Big East.
Conference pride. We can't let the ACC, Big 10, or the Horizon league win the title. It has to come back to the Big East. The Big East is the best conference in basketball. The Big East struggled a whole lot in the Tournament. What better way to shut up the morons who say the Big East was overrated, than a Big East team winning the title?
  • Da'Sean Butler
Da'Sean Butler  has become one of my favorite players to watch. He may not have NBA skills, but he is a damn fine college player. He was huge in slaying the dragon known as Kentucky, and that alone should have earned him a space in your heart. He was called by Bob Huggins 'the best player he ever coached.' High praise.
  • They live in West Virginia
Really, that's where they live. What the hell is there to do in West Virginia? Wear coonskin caps? Kiss your cousin? Hike the mountains? Make some moonshine in your bathtub? Are some of these things about Kentucky as well? Yes, but there is no difference between them. Especially everywhere in Kentucky east of Lexington. And south of Lexington. Actually, all of Kentucky that's not Lexington or Louisville. Anyway, they burn couches in West Virginia. Burning couches is pretty cool.
  • They are playing Duke

Fuck Duke.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What's On Tap

The offseason is now in full swing. Things will start to get slow, but I'll try to keep things fresh around these parts. Wednesday, and Thursday are going to see a 'Why We Should Root for West Virginia' and 'Why We Shouldn't Root for West Virginia' posts. Friday will be a Final Four preview. Sunday will probably see a recap of Final Four action. Monday night, there will be a live blog of the NCAA Championship game. Even if it's Duke-Michigan State. 

There are going to be some new features. One will be a recap of the meaningful games of the season. Another will be a review of the players. One will be forgotten Bearcats. That will continue weekly until the start of the football season. There will be looks at the Bearcats spring sports weekly. And finally, a random post of the week. It could be a YouTube, a rant, a list, it'll be random. I'll try to get some interviews, but probably not. The plan is to keep things going until football season starts. We'll do our best. 

Monday, March 29, 2010

Josh Schneider: Record breaker

Normally at the Bearcats Blog, we talk about basketball and football. Mainly, that's because college baseball annoys us, and because no one ever sends volleyball results. But someone has come along, and swam into the hearts of every Bearcat. That man, is Josh Schneider. We talked about Josh's exploits in an earlier post, but he's gone out and done something even more incredible. Josh became an NCAA Champion.

The event: 50 freestyle. The time: 18:93. That's a school record, and a pool record. He became the first Bearcat swimmer to win an individual swimming championship since 1946, and only the second swimmer in Cincinnati history. He received a congratulatory call by the man who won in 1946, Charles Keating. Per Go Bearcats, Josh said this about his big day.
"The key to the race was not thinking about it," Schneider said. "I just let it rock out. I was third at the turn and I said to myself I wasn't going to lose the race. It was so loud in here, I had no idea I won. I looked up at the board and saw a 1 by my name and couldn't believe it."
 That's what we should all aspire to, letting it rock out. Josh wasn't done shattering records and making the ladies swimsuits drop. The next day, he would go on to set another UC record in the 100 yard butterfly. Who's record did he break? His own from earlier in the day. He swam a 46.36 and a 46.21. Was that good enough to win the Consolation Finals? Fuck yeah it was. This is Josh Schneider we are talking about.

On Sunday, Josh was seeded 11th for the 100 freestyle, with a time of 43.00. That's a school record, personal record and Big East meet record for those of you who don't follow the pool. What did he go out and do? He finished 6th. He put up a time of 42.68. He went above and beyond. For his efforts, he was named an All-American in the 100 free. That's the second time that he's done that. He broke 7, that's right 7, school records at the event. He broke all of his personal bests at the event. He broke them all again at the event.

Putting a capper on things, not only did Josh Schneider set personal records, not only did he shatter UC records, not only did he win a consolation finals, not only was he named an All-American, he became a National Champion and the greatest swimmer in Cincinnati history. The greatest. When you think of swimming at the University of Cincinnati, which you should from now on, push Charles Keating's old ass to the side. Because Josh Schneider is the king of the pool. Congratulations Josh.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

South and Midwest Regional Finals Preview

First things first, congratulations to Butler and West Virginia. Bob Huggins reached his second Final Four, his first since 1992, and WVU's first since 1959. Butler reached their first Final Four ever, and they get to play in Indianapolis. I don't know how you couldn't be rooting for Butler. I was incredibly happy for them. I was also incredibly happy that Kentucky lost. Maybe if you weren't dicks Kentucky fans, people would like you. Let's recap and predict.

5 Butler Bulldogs 63 2 Kansas State Wildcats 56 - Butler pulled off nearly the same game they did against Syrcause. They got off to a good start, had a solid halftime lead, and fell behind late. Kansas State rallied for the lead, but the Bulldogs would not quit. A Gordon Hayward lay up with a minute left sealed the deal. Kansas St was locked down by the tough nosed defense, held to 38% shooting, just 5 threes, and 7-14 at the free throw line. Gordon Hayward put up 22-9 for the winners, while Denis Clemente had 18 for the Wildcats.

2 West Virginia Mountaineers 73 1 Kentucky Wildcats 66 - West Virginia made 8 threes for their only field goals of the first half. When they made twos, they put Kentucky away. The Mountaineer defense held Kentucky to only 34% shooting, 4-32 from 3. Kentucky was also 16-29 at the free throw line. West Virginia hit 23-34 at the stripe, and that helped them advance. Da'Sean Butler led the way with 18-6, while in his last game at UK, John Wall had 19-6-5 assists-4 steals-5 turnovers. Once again, congrats to WVU. Represent the Big East well.


2:20 PM
6 Tennessee Volunteers v. 5 Michigan State Spartans - Tennessee has played tough, slow down games in 2 of their 3 wins. Michigan State has played the same. Both had second round offensive explosions, MSU over Maryland, and Tennessee over Ohio. I fully expect another slow down game here. It's going to be a toss up. Michigan State didn't seem to miss Kailin Lucas too much against Northern Iowa, but I think this is the game that does it. I like how Tennessee is playing, even though they could have very well lost to San Diego State.

Prediction: Ken Pom likes Sparty by 1, winning 52% of the time. It's a toss up. I like the Orange to crash the Final Four.
Tennessee 65 Michigan State 61

5:05 PM
3 Baylor Bears v. 1 Duke Blue Devils - Baylor is coming off a great performance, and has the home crowd. That's good, but I think that they lose. Duke has locked everyone down so far in the tournament, and I think they'll take advantage of Baylor's good, but not great defense. I hope LaceDarius Dunn has a big game. Yes, I wanted to type LaceDarius. I hope Baylor fights the good fight and wins, but I think Duke will be the only 1 seed to advance.

Prediction: Ken Pom likes Duke by 6, winning 72% of the time. Sounds about right.
Duke 73 Baylor 69

Saturday, March 27, 2010

East and West Regional Final Previews

The NCAA Tournament is quickly winding down to the it's end sadly. We are left with just 8 squads. Before we look at the match ups for today, let's rewind and look at who were the big winners last night.

6 Tennessee 76 2 Ohio State 73 - The Buckeyes couldn't keep the Volunteers off the offensive glass, as the Vols grabbed 18. The Buckeyes also couldn't stop Tennessee inside. They did have a chance to win, as Player of the Year in the Big 10, and probably America, Evan Turner got a pair of looks from 3. He missed the first and had the second blocked by JP Prince to send the Buckeyes packing. It's Tennessee's first ever Elite 8. Wayne Chism had 22-11, and Brian Williams 9-12, including the tip in for the lead. Evan Turner had 31-7-5 assists in his last game as a Buckeye.

5 Michigan State 59 9 Northern Iowa 52 - Northern Iowa didn't score a field goal in the last 10 minutes against the Spartans. Those types of things tend to cost you games. Michigan State continues to be a team that always advances to the late stages of the NCAA tournament. Even though many thought they would reach this point in November, none thought it would come this way. For UNI, Adam Koch  had 13, while for the Spartans, Durrell Summers put up 19-7.

3 Baylor 72 10 St Mary's 49 - This was an all out rout in Houston. Baylor shot 45%, pounded the glass, and played tough defense. LaceDarius Dunn went for 23 to power the Bears, while Ben Allen had 16-7 for the losers.

1 Duke 70 5 Purdue 57 - This game went exactly as I predicted, which never happens. Purdue tried their best, but had no offensive answers for the Dukies. This game was ugly for a long time, but the Blue Devils will take ugly as long as they advance. Duke outrebounded Purdue by 22, pulled in 15 offensive boards and held Purdue to just 4. Kyle Singler had 24-8 for Duke, while JaJuan Johnson had 23 for Purdue.

Previews and Predictions

4:30 PM
5 Butler Bulldogs v. 2 Kansas State Wildcats - Butler has been grinding down defensively in their last 2 wins, while Kansas State has shown off their offensive firepower in blowing by BYU and Xavier. It's going to be interesting to see who on Butler can contain Jacob Pullen and Denis Clemente. The Bulldogs are going to need Shelvin Mack and Gordon Hayward to continue their strong play. At least strong play in the last game by Hayward. Ken Pom thinks that Kansas State wins by 3 62% of the time. I really like Butler, but I don't know if they have enough. Kansas State is coming off a tough game yes, but I think they have more.

Prediction: Kansas State 68 Butler 60

7 PM
2 West Virginia Mountaineers v. 1 Kentucky Wildcats - The best of the Elite 8 games in being played tonight. The Wildcats and Mountaineers are two very good defensive clubs, who have a tendency to miss shots. Both rebound the hell out of the offensive glass. It's going to be interesting to see if Hugs puts Devin Ebanks on John Wall like everyone is predicting. I think that he will, but that WVU will play a lot of zone. That leaves the game in the hands of the Kentucky guards. Eric Bledsoe could murder WVU if they leave him open, as could Dobson or Darius Miller. Kevin Jones and Ebanks could have their hands full with Patterson and Cousins. I think Butler will be guarded by Miller, and it's going to be a challenge for Darius. I'm looking forward to this game very much. It should be great. Ken Pom has UK by 2, winning 58%. Even the computers think it's a toss up. Of course, I'm pulling for Bob Huggins. Final Four track suits everyone!

Prediction: West Virginia 72 Kentucky 68

Friday, March 26, 2010

NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Friday Preview

What a night Thursday was for basketball. The amazing Kansas State-Xavier game was a sight to behold. That's another reason why we love college basketball. Especially the NCAA Tournament. It was a big day alright, as the West region also saw top seed Syracuse fall to Butler. Before we go to the Duke-Purdue, Baylor-St Mary's, Ohio State-Tennessee and Michigan State-Northern Iowa predictions, let's take a look back at Thursday's action.

5 Butler 63 1 Syracuse 59 - The little Butler Bulldogs knocked off top seeded Syracuse in another let down for our Big East brethren. Butler had a 10 point lead at the half, but saw the Orange take the lead by as much as 4 in the second. Ronald Nored hit a 3, and Matt Howard got a tip for the lead, and Willie Veasley scored 5 of his own with a Gordon Hayward free throw and an 11-0 run to ice it. Hayward led the Bulldogs with 17, while Wes Johnson had 17-9 for the Orange.

2 Kansas State 101 6 Xavier 96 (2 OT) - I'm not the only one who thought this was an instant classic, and in fact, there are really no words I can add to this great game. Down the stretch it was Jordan Crawford, Jacob Pullen, Terrell Holloway, Curtis Kelly, Terrell Holloway, Jamar Samuels, JORDAN CRAWFORD, Curtis Kelly, JACOB PULLEN, and JACOB PULLEN again. Dante Jackson had a look to tie at 99, but came up short. Crawford had 32, Holloway 26-6 assists, and Jason Love 11-15 for X, while Pullen had 28, Denis Clemente 25-5 assists and Curtis Kelly 21-8. Watch the highlights, hell watch the game on March Madness on Demand.

1 Kentucky 62 12 Cornell 45 - This game seemed like it sucked for a long time. Kentucky pulled away in the first half, then never scored in the second. Cornell cut the lead to 6 at one point, but Kentucky pulled away, just like I predicted. Louis Dale had 17 for the Big Red, while DeMarcus Cousins had 16-8-4 steals for Kentucky.

2 West Virginia 69 11 Washington 56 - This was a game for a half, but once West Virginia found a rhythm, the Huskies couldn't hang. The Mountaineers pulled down 19 offensive rebounds. Justin Holliday, J'Rue's brother, had 14-8-5 steals in the losing effort, while Kevin Jones had 18-8 for the winners.

Previews and Predictions

7:07 PM
6 Tennessee v. 2 Ohio State

2 Ohio State Buckeyes 29-7
How they got here: Big 10 Tournament Champions
Round 1- 68-51 over UC Santa Barbara
Round 2- 75-66 over Georgia Tech
Best Players: Evan Turner 20-9.2-6 assists William Buford 14.4-5.7-3.1 assists 
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 7/23

6 Tennessee Volunteers 27-8
How they got here: At large (SEC 3rd place)
Round 1- 62-59 over San Diego State
Round 2- 83-68 over Ohio
Best Players: Scotty Hobson 12.5-3.3  Wayne Chism 12.3-7.3-1.3 blocks 
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 90/8

Prediction: Ken Pom has Ohio State by 5 with a 71% chance of winning. I like Ohio State by a little more than 5. Ohio State 71-63

9:37 PM (Estimate) 30 minutes after game 1
9 Northern Iowa v. 5 Michigan State

5 Michigan State Spartans 26-8
How they got here: At large (Big 10 3 way tie Co-Champions)
Round 1- 70-67 over New Mexico State
Round 2- 85-83 over Maryland
Best Players:  Raymar Morgan 11.6-6.2 Durrell Summers 10.7-4.5 
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 35/30

9 Northern Iowa Panthers 30-4
How they got here: Missouri Valley Tournament Champions
Round 1- 69-66 over UNLV
Round 2- 69-67 over Kansas
Best Players: Jordan Egsleder 12-7.3 Adam Koch 11.6-4.9
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 53/14

Prediction: Ken Pom has Northern Iowa by 1, with a 51% chance of winning. This is a pure toss up, as MSU has Kailin Lucas out for the tournament with a Achilles injury. Even with Lucas, this would probably be a toss up. I think that the Panther run continues. Northern Iowa 69-68.

7:27 PM
10 St Mary's v. 3 Baylor

3 Baylor Bears 27-7

How they got here: At large (Big 12 2nd place 3 way tie)
Round 1- 68-59 over Sam Houston State
Round 2- 76-68 over Old Dominion
Best Players: LaceDarius Dunn 19.4-4.9 Tweety Carter 15.1-6 assists 
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 5/39

10 St Mary's Gaels 28-5
How they got here: WCC Tournament Champions 
Round 1- 80-71 over Richmond
Round 2- 75-68 over Villanova
Best Players: Omar Samhan 20.9-11-3 blocks Mickey McConnell 13.7-5.2 assists 
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 16/81

Prediction: Ken Pom has Baylor by 4, with a 68% chance of winning. I think that we get an upset here. I don't buy into Baylor. They let SHS stay close, and they let Old Dominion come back on them. I'm going St Mary's 77-75.

9:57 PM (estimate) 30 minutes after game 1
4 Purdue v. 1 Duke

1 Duke Blue Devils 31-5
How they got here: Won ACC Tournament
Round 1- 73-44 over Arkansas Pine Bluff
Round 2- 68-53 over California
Best Players: Jon Scheyer 18.1-4.9 assists Kyle Singler 17.7-7
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 2/3

4 Purdue Boilermakers 29-5
How they got here: At large (Big 10 3 way Champions)
Round 1- 72-64 over Siena
Round 2- 63-61 (OT) over Texas A&M
Best Players: E'Twan Moore 16.4-3.8 JaJuan Johnson 15.7-6.9
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 67/4

Prediction: Ken Pom has Duke by 7, with a 79% chance of winning. I think that's about right. I don't know how Purdue scores on Duke. I think the Blue Devils lock them down, like they did California. Duke 66-52.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bearcats Land Kenbrell Thompkins

Per our good, good friends at Bearcats Lair, the Cincinnati Bearcats locked down junior college receiver Kenbrell Thompkins. Thompkins originally signed with Tennessee over the winter, but didn't show up for class, and asked for his release when Lane Kiffin bolted for USC. He's eligible to play this season, giving depth to the receiving corp that has DJ Woods, Armon Binns, Vidal Hazelton and more. Butch Jones has done a pretty good job in bringing in some quality recruits. Thompkins was the #1 JUCO receiver on a couple of rankings lists that I never saw, and he's a good get. You already knew Butch Jones could recruit when he landed the awesome Munchie Legaux, and this shows that he knows what he is doing. Kudos to you Coach Jones, and kudos to you Kenbrell Thompkins for making the wise decision in coming to Cincinnati.

NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Thursday Preview

As any hoops fan knows, we are in the best time of the year. It's Sweet 16/Elite 8 weekend. It's when the Cinderella's slipper falls off, or when Cinderella makes it to the ball. It's when we find out what team can handle the pressure, and what teams combust. It's a werewolf bar mitzvah. There will be a little comparison and prediction for Butler v. Syracuse, Xavier v. Kansas State, West Virginia v. Washington and Kentucky v. Cornell.

7:07 PM
1 Syracuse v. 5 Butler

1 Syracuse Orange 30-4

How they got here: At large (Big East Regular Season Champions) 
Round 1- 79-56 over Vermont
Round 2- 87-65 over Gonzaga 
Best Players: Wesley Johnson 16.5-8.5-2.3 assists-1.7 steals-1.9 blocks Andy Rautins 12-5 assists-2 steals
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 7/16

5 Butler Bulldogs 28-6
How they got here: Horizon League Tournament Champions 
Round 1- 77-59 over UTEP
Round 2- 54-52 over Murray State
Best Players: Gordon Hayward 15.2-8.3 Shelvin Mack 14.1-3.6-3.1 assists-1.3 steals
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 49/10

Prediction: Ken Pom has Syracuse by 4, with the Orange winning 67% of the time. I really love Butler, but I don't think that they have the fire power to topple the Orange. 71-62 Syracuse. 

9:37 PM (Estimated) 30 minutes after game 1
2 Kansas State v. 7 Xavier

2 Kansas State Wildcats 28-7
How they got here: At large (Big 12 2nd Place)
Round 1- 82-62 over North Texas
Round 2- 84-72 over Brigham Young
Best Players: Jacob Pullen 19.2-3.5 assists-1.7 steals Denis Clemente 16.3-4.2 assists
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 14/12

6 Xavier Musketeers 26-8
How they got here: At large (A-10 2nd Place)
Round 1- 65-54 over Minnesota
Round 2- 71-68 over Pittsburgh 
Best Players: Jordan Crawford 20.2-4.8-2.9 assists Jason Love 11.8-8.5-1.5 blocks
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 17/34

Prediction: Ken Pom has KSU by 3, winning 61% of the time. These foes matched up in December in a kinda boring brick and free throw fest. I think that Kansas State has the guns to beat X, but I'm going with the Muskies in an upset. I'm thinking 78-74 Xavier.

7:27 PM
2 West Virginia v. 11 Washington

2 West Virginia Mountaineers 29-6
How they got here: Big East Tournament Champions
Round 1- 77-50 over Morgan State
Round 2- 68-59 over Missouri 
Best Players: Da'Sean Butler 17.5-6.2-3.3 assists Kevin Jones 13.6-7.2
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 12/23

11 Washington Huskies 26-9
How they got here: Pac 10 Tournament Champions 
Round 1- 80-78 over Marquette
Round 2- 82-64 over New Mexico
Best Players: Quincy Pondexter 19.7-7.5 Isaiah Thomas 17.1-4-3.1 assists 
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 25/36

Prediction: Ken Pom has WVU by 4, winning 66% of the time. West Virginia is missing point guard Truck Bryant, who is out with a broken foot. Who knows how much this is going to hurt Bob Huggins' squad. I think that it won't very much in this game. Washington played their best game of the tournament against New Mexico. Prediction: West Virginia 75-63

9:57 PM (Estimated) 30 minutes after game 1
1 Kentucky v. 12 Cornell

1 Kentucky Wildcats 34-2
How they got here: SEC Tournament Champions
Round 1- 100-71 over East Tennessee State
Round 2- 90-60 over Wake Forest 
Best Players: John Wall 16.8-4.1-6.5 assists DeMarcus Cousins 15.1-10-1.9 blocks 
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 10/9

12 Cornell Big Red 29-4
How they got here: Ivy League Champions
Round 1- 78-65 over Temple
Round 2- 87-69 over Wisconsin
Best Players: Ryan Wittman 17.8-4 Louis Dale 12.6-4.8 assists-1.3 steals
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 9/132

Prediction: Ken Pom has Kentucky by 9, with an 80% win probability. Cornell moved up 19 spots in offensive rank with their extraordinary dissection of Temple and Wisconsin. I joked on twitter that Cornell would shoot 8%, and blow it against Kentucky, but I think they can hang tough. I think that they do, but Kentucky pulls away late. I think tonight, we're all preppy, douche bag Cornell fans. Prediction: Kentucky 70-60

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dayton 81 Cincinnati 66

(Enquirer/Gary Landers)
This is a late recap of the final game of the Cincinnati Bearcats season. As so, I will spice up the action with personal stories of my experience at 5/3. It was the first game of the season that I had the pleasure of attending. The night got off to an ominous start. I met up with one of my friends and his parents at Mecklenberg Gardens only to find out that it was a UD alumni gathering. Sure, there was a UC side on the other half of the top level, but I was surrounded by Dayton fans. I did get a towel and basketball necklace, which was nice. Mecklenberg Gardens 2 meat dish should come with a paddles for the heart attack you are going to suffer later by the way. After the nice dinner, we took a bus over to the big fraction. I snapped this photo from section 209.
That was during warm ups obviously. Shout out to section 209. Not only was I there being handsome, but there were a couple of guys behind me who knew their shit, and there was a foxy lady sitting next to me that was also very knowledgeable. I bought a Deonta Vaughn jersey before the game. I think my not wearing it until about 3 minutes left was cause for the loss. Let's see how we got to the loss.

Yancy Gates scored the first basket of the game. It was the only thing Yancy would do positively all night. He got in foul trouble like 3 minutes in, and vanished the rest of the night. Kurt Huelsman, not liked by my friend Justin, but apparently loved by 2 kids wearing Huelsman jerseys, got a tip in for UD, before Chris Wright dunk made it 4-2. Jaquan Parker drilled a trey for UC's last lead. Rod Lowery connected for Dayton, starting an 11-2 run. Wright made a jumper, Stephenson a lay up for UC, and Paul Williams and Mickey Perry made 3 pointers. Deonta Vaughn added to his 3 pointers made number by netting one to make it 15-10 as we hit the under 12. The Flyers pushed the lead to 10 on a Williams jumper and a Luke Fabrizius 3 that brought out a Luuuuuuuuuke from the UD fans in attendance. The crowd was roughly a 1/4 UD fans. UC was putting up a ton of three point shots to no success, but Jaquan Parker connected on his second to bring the lead to 7. Huelsman scored inside, inciting a "That's his career high," from my UD friend Justin. Vaughn answered with free throws to make the score 22-15. That's when the Dayton 3 point party started. Lowery hit one, Stephenson drew a foul making both for the Cats, Perry made another, Lowery another, and Paul Williams another. From my recollection, they were all wide open. Dayton went up 34-17. The lead stayed at 15 to the under 3 timeout, with a Wilks jam, 2 Cashmere Wright free throws, a Marcus Johnson tip, a Thomas dunk, and a Wright jumper for UD. I should point out that Lance Stephenson got banged up and went down for a few minutes. Then, Jaquan Parker got hurt at the 7:30 mark or so, and didn't return. With the score 38-23, Cincinnati made a run. Larry Davis hit a pair of free throws after the break, and then Deonta Vaughn took over. Vaughn hit back to back 3s to cut the lead to 7, before Chris Johnson hit a 3 to push it back to 9. With 1 minute to go, Lance Stephenson was intentionally fouled by London Warren. Vaughn filled in, iced both foul shots, and on the subsequent UC possession, hit a jumper to make the score 41-36. That stayed the score though halftime.

The second half started with Stephenson getting to the basket, drawing a foul, making a free throw and cutting the lead to 2 a minute in. It was a very loud crowd for 6,300 or so. We can thank Dayton being our opponent, and their traveling fans for that. Anyway, UD got their first point on a Wright free throw, but UC cut the lead to 1 on a Thomas dunk from Stephenson. Chris Wright got it back for Dayton on a wide open dunk off an inbound play. The Bearcats cut the lead to 1 once again, when Cash got a steal, and passed to Stephenson for an emphatic dunk. Stephenson had a shot blocked by Wright for the lead, that turned into a Lowery lay up to push it back to 3, and started a 6-0 UD run. Matt Kavanaugh scored on a lay up, as did London Warren. All 3 lay ups were after UC missed 3 pointers. The Cats kept it close after a 3 minute draught with another Thomas dunk. Marcus Johnson answered that with a jumper, but UC got a 5 point spurt on a Cash lay up and a Vaughn 3 to make it 52-50. Paul Williams hit a 3 off an offensive rebound for the Flyers. Yancy Gates was stripped by Wright, which lead to a missed 3 by Marcus Johnson, but a rebound by Paul Williams, who found Devin Searcy, who in turn, dunked on Ibrahima Thomas' face. It was pretty impressive. Deonta drew a foul while shooting a triple, made all 3, cutting the lead back to 4. Cincinnati would go another 3 minutes without scoring, setting up a 6-0 UD run. Marcus Johnson hit a pair of 2 point jumpers, and Luuuuuuuuuuuke Fabrizius one for himself, causing a UC timeout with 6:24 left. There was no scoring until the 5 minute mark, when Stephenson scored a lay up. Off another UD offensive rebound, Chris Johnson scored a lay up. Ibby Thomas fought hard in the post, the only UC player who did, got 2 offensive boards and a bucket to cut the lead to single digits for the last time. Wright hit 2 free throws, got a steal, made another free throw to make it an 11 point game. After a Cash miss, Marcus Johnson made 1. Vaughn drew a foul and made both. London Warren made 1 of 2, Cash missed a lay up attempt, Warren ended up with the ball and made 1 of 2 again. It was all free throws late, Marcus Johnson 2, Wilks 1 for UC, Marcus 2 more, Vaughn 2, and Chris Johnson 1. The free throws stopped when Stephenson scored a lay up, Vaughn got a steal and a lay up, and UD a Marcus Johnson lay up, but continued when Marcus Johnson made 1, and Lowery 2. Before Lowery's second, Deonta Vaughn checked out of the game for the last time in his Cincinnati career to a standing ovation. It was not the way he, and all UC fans, wanted him to go out, but at least he got a big reception. The Lowery free throws were the last points, making it 81-66 Flyers for their biggest win over UC in 15 years.

Dayton was 28-58 48%, 10-29 from deep, 15-24 at the stripe with 39 rebounds, 11 offensive. Marcus Johnson had 16-7-4 assists, Lowery 13, Wright 11-5-3 steals, Williams 11, Chris Johnson 7-7, Perry 6, Luuuuuuke Fabrizius 5, Huelsman 4-5, Warren 4-8, Searcy 2, and Kavanaugh 2. Cincinnati shot 20-60 33%, 6-31 from 3, 20-23 at the stripe, with 31 boards, 9 offensive. Vaughn lead the way with 28 points, 4 assists, 4 steals. He got 12-13 at the stripe, while shooting 6-18, 4-15 deep. But, Deonta Vaughn moved into third place all time in points in Cincinnati history, passing Danny Fortson. Congratulations on your achievement 5, and thank you for the great career. Stephenson had 13-6-4 assists, Thomas 8-9, Parker 6, Cash 4, Wilks 3, Gates 2.

A couple of bullet point thoughts to close this out.

  • Thanks for nothing Yancy Gates. I know you were in foul trouble, but c'mon son. UC should have dominated inside, but got nothing from everyone not named Ibrahima Thomas. 
  • Hey Darnell Wilks, stop shooting the 3.
  • Hey Larry Davis, I like you a whole lot, more than section 209 did, but please work on that jump shot this summer. I don't think anyone, you included, had any faith in any of your shots falling. You d up hard, but you need to score.
  • Lance Stephenson said after the game that UC took Dayton lightly. I don't understand how this team, who was favored to lose on the projections I saw, could take anyone lightly. That's on the players, and on the coaching staff. This is a rival who had a better record. UC shouldn't take Arkansas Pine Bluff lightly, let alone a 21 win team. 
  • It's performances like that, that make it hard to be one of the people not disappointed that Mick Cronin isn't getting fired. 
  • I was kinda surprised how many Dayton fans were there. I know there are a lot of transplants in the area, but they represented very well. It was a nice atmosphere. 
  • This was one game where UC could have used Rashad Bishop. I was wrong on that one. 
  • The bus taking us back to Mecklenberg Gardens smelled like shit. Plus, it was crowded and I had to stand. There was one point where the bus driver seemed to just gun it, and I stared at a car coming directly at me. Luckily, it stopped short instead of ramming into us. I had visions of that State Farm or whatever commercial where the car does crash. 
  • Where do we go from here? Good question. I'm going to break down the season, the players, memorable games, and all that jazz starting in the next week. There will be an NCAA Sweet 16 breakdown tomorrow, and Friday, and Saturday and Sunday. There will be a Final 4 preview the following Friday, and a National title preview that Monday. 
  • Also, there will be spring football news as it comes.
Since this is the last recap of the season, I want to thank you for reading. This season wasn't the best, wasn't the worst. It was fun at times, nerf basketball wall throwing times as well. It had memorable games, all nearly memorable losses though. More importantly, it had me and you. I hope that you enjoyed the basketball coverage. I enjoyed writing it. Thank you.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Cincinnati v. Dayton Flyers NIT Preview

The NCAA tournament has been going crazy, but there is another tournament running wild. It's called the NIT. And it features the Cincinnati Bearcats. Since only 2,200 showed up to the Weber St game, I'm guessing that a little more care about the game tonight at 9, as the Bearcats play host to the Dayton Flyers. Bearcats Blog will be in the house tonight. I'll be the guy sporting the Field Williams autographed hat. I know there are so many of those going around, but think of it as a where's Waldo. The Bearcats and Flyers haven't played in a couple years. The last time they played was in Las Vegas in the 05-06 season, and the Bearcats won by 18. They played earlier that season as well, with Dayton winning at 5/3. But, I'm going with the story that the Flyers haven't beaten Cincinnati in nearly 5 years. How do the Dayton Flyers and the Cincinnati Bearcats match up in the battle of 1-75 as Go Bearcats calls it? Let's hit it.

KenPom Offense/Defense Rank: 111/52
Notable Stats: 29.6 Three Point Percent (322), 63% Free Throw Percent (330) 38.5 Offensive Rebounding Percent (18)


  1. Deonta Vaughn 30.3
  2. Lance Stephenson 28.2
  3. Yancy Gates 25.7
  4. Cashmere Wright 18.1
  5. Ibrahima Thomas 17.9

  1. Lance Stephenson 12.3
  2. Deonta Vaughn 11.2
  3. Yancy Gates 10.6
  4. Ibrahima Thomas 5.7
  5. Cashmere Wright 5.5

  1. Yancy Gates 6
  2. Lance Stephenson 5.3
  3. Ibrahima Thomas 5.3
  4. Deonta Vaughn 3.5
  5. Steve Toyloy 3.4

  • Deonta Vaughn 3.5
  • Lance Stephenson 2.4
  • Cashmere Wright 2

  • Deonta Vaughn 1.1

  • Yancy Gates 0.9

KenPom Offense/Defense Rank: 110/9
Notable Stats: 27.5 Opponent Offensive Rebound Rate (13) 45.1 Opponent Effective Field Goal % (32) 43.8 Two Point % Defense (33)


  1. Chris Wright 28.4
  2. Marcus Johnson 24.3
  3. Chris Johnson 24
  4. Kurt Huelsman 21.5
  5. Paul Williams 20.5

  1. Chris Wright 14
  2. Chris Johnson 11.5
  3. Marcus Johnson 8.6
  4. Rob Lowery 7.5
  5. Mickey Perry 5.7

  1. Chris Wright 7.2
  2. Chris Johnson 6.8
  3. Kurt Huelsman 4.3
  4. London Warren 3.3
  5. Marcus Johnson 3.1

  • London Warren 4.2
  • Rob Lowery 3.6

  • London Warren 1.2

  • Chris Wright 1.5

The big key to this game is going to be rebounding. If Cincinnati can crash the offensive glass, they have a great shot at winning. Cincinnati has really been playing solid lately, while the Flyers have been up and down. They swooned to the finish in the A-14, but they have a lot of quality players. Chris Wright stole James White's nickname, but he's a tremendous player. The Dayton defense, like most other A-14 defenses, is very solid. The Cats are going to have to earn their points tonight. A prolonged scoring slump is to be expected. It's to be expected in every game, but especially in this case, where Dayton can really put the clamps down. The Bearcats playing at home gives them the advantage in my eyes. I don't know how much of an advantage it will be now that I think about it, but I will be in the house, and that's more than enough.

Prediction: Cincinnati 73 Dayton 67

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Video of James White in Russian Dunk Contest

Here's a video of a Russian League dunk contest that former Bearcat James White participated in. Spoiler alert: he won. Former Boston Celtic Gerald Green also participated. Congratulations to Flight, hope things are going well in Russia.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Rashad Bishop done for the season

Rashad Bishop, like the headline states, has been suspended for the season. Mick Cronin has not stated why, nor has he stated if Bishop will be on the team next season. There have been various rumors circulating, like Bishop took a swing at Mick, or that Bishop and Lance Stephenson hate each other and various other things. I don't know what exactly happened obviously, but you can feel free to tell me. I'm going to be honest, I don't mind this. I like the lineup UC has been running out lately, and I like Darnell Wilks. It's like for the first time this year, UC has their own style. I think Jaquan Parker is better than Bishop, and he has rebounded like a monster. I have nothing against Rashad, but he didn't offer anything that UC doesn't have. Plus, he took a lot of bad shots, especially 3s, and drove me crazy. Best of luck to Rashad this spring. Hopefully missing out on the success UC is having makes him change his ways. If not, it was good having you around 22.

That was amazing

Thursday was one of the greatest basketball watching days of my life. I don't remember any day that started, and ended in such dramatic fashion. This is why we love college basketball. No team was safe, no lead was safe, and everyone busted their asses to make things special. I don't know how you could watch any of the games and not marvel at the action. I love the NCAA Tournament, as you could have guessed by the previews when the team this blog is about wasn't in it, and today was every reason why. The drama, the random stars, the guys jumping on the bench, the bangwagon fans, the stunned coaches, and of course, the ONIONS. Let's recap the action of the day, shall we?

West Region

7 BYU 99 10 Florida 92 (2 OT) - One of the first games of the day was one of the best games of the day. Florida stormed back from a big deficit in the second half to take the lead, see the score tied, and go to overtime. Jimmer Fredette tied the game with 26 seconds left in regulation, and hit a pair of huge 3s in the second OT. Jimmer went off for 37. Kenny Boynton led the Gator rally, finishing with 27.

13 Murray State 66 4 Vanderbilt 65- This game was close nearly all day. Vanderbilt was able to take the lead with an Andre Walker steal that lead to 2 Jermaine Beal free throws. Murray didn't panic, worked the clock down to under 2 seconds when Danero Thomas rose and fired for the win. Thomas had 11, but Isacc Miles powered the Racers with 17-6. Vandy was paced by 13 from John Jenkins.

2 Kansas State 82 15 North Texas 62- K State jumped out by 16 at the half, and never worried. Tristan Thompson had 28 for the Mean Green, but it was no match for 17-6 assists from Denis Clemente. Curtis Kelly and Jacob Pullen had 15.

5 Butler 77 12 UTEP 59- This was a game at halftime, with UTEP leading by 6. Butler's Shelvin Mack took matters into his hands with 7 second half 3s, and 25 points total. Butler hit 18 of 28 from deep. Derrick Caracter did have 20-9 in the losing effort.


9 Northern Iowa 69 8 UNLV 66- UNLV rallied to tie the score at 66 with an Oscar Bellfield 3 pointer with 44 seconds left. The Panthers took the clock down near 0 when they found an open Ali Farokmanesh, who stone cold nailed a triple. He had 17. Matt Shaw's 14 lead UNLV.

14 Ohio 97 3 Georgetown 83- In what was a big time stunner, Ohio dominated Georgetown. The Bobcats hit 13 triples, had a 12 point halftime lead, withstood a rally, and picked up their first NCAA win since 1975. Georgetown's loss was the biggest losing margin for a 3 seed ever, and the most points the Hoyas have given up in the NCAAs ever. Armon Bassett had 32, and his backcourt mate D.J Cooper 23-8 assists to lead the march. Georgetown got 28 from Chris Wright.

6 Tennessee 62 11 San Diego St 59- This was another game that went down the wire. Tennessee got a huge 3 by Melvin Goins to push the lead to 4 with 18 seconds left, but he fouled D.J Gay, who was shooting a 3. Gay made all 3. Wayne Chism knocked down a pair of free throws for the Vols, followed by a miss from Kawhi Leonard, who had a decent look. Gay put up 16 for the losers, Goins and JP Prince had 15, Prince 6 rebounds, for the winners.

1 Kansas 90 16 Lehigh 74- Lehigh hung in for a while, but they were no match for the talented Jayhawks. C.J McCollum did his best with 26-7, but Marcus Morris fueled a balanced attack with 26-10.


11 Old Dominion 51 6 Notre Dame 50- The Monarchs rallied from an early 8 point second half hole to keep this one tight. Gerald Lee hit a jumper with 1:26 for the lead, and a free throw a few seconds later to push it to 3. Tory Jackson missed a 3, Carleton Scott a put back dunk, before Luke Harangody made a lay up at the buzzer. ODU was lead by 15-9 from Frank Hassell. Ben Hansbrough had 17-6 for the Fighting Irish.

2 Villanova 73 15 Robert Morris 70 (OT)- Villanova played extremely flat, as Corey Fisher and Scottie Reynolds didn't start as a 'teaching tool' or some bs reason. Bobby Mo had an 8 point lead with 3:57 left, but Nova hit from the stripe to tie. A Karon Abraham jumper was answered by a Yarou lay up, and Nova missed a shot at the end of regulation to send it to overtime. In OT Scottie Reynolds, who was 2-15, hit a 3 with 1:15 to push the lead to 6. They got it down to 1, but couldn't get over the hump. Reynolds had 20, thanks to 15 free throws, and Abraham 23 in the losing effort.

3 Baylor 68 14 Sam Houston St 59- Sam Houston kept this one close for a while before fading in winning time. Gilberto Clavell had 23-7 for the Bearkats, while Ekpe Udoh went for 20-13-5 assists for the Bears.

10 St Mary's 80 7 Richmond 71- Omar Samhan crushed the Spiders with a 29-12 dominating performance, key in the second half, as the Gaels broke a halftime tie. The Spiders couldn't solve the d, or slow down the big man. David Gonzalvez did his best with 18-5, but it wasn't enough.


3 New Mexico 62 14 Montana 57- The Grizzlies made this a ball game, cutting a 14 point deficit down to 1, but that was as close as they got. New Mexico made a bunch of free throws to put this one on ice. Roman Martinez had 19-6-4 assists for the Lobos, while Brian Qvale had a big 26-13 for the losers.

9 Wake Forest 81 8 Texas 80 (OT)- Texas rallied to tie the game late in regulation, but missed a couple chances to win, when Damian James only made 1 of 2 at the line. Texas jumped out to an 8 point overtime lead, but 2 Tony Woods dunk backs and free throws helped pull the margin to 2. Ari Stewart cut the lead to 1 with 19 seconds left, and the 324th worst free throw shooting team in the country saw Gary Johnson miss 2 leading to Ish Smith netting a game winner with under 2 seconds left. Al-Farouq Aminu put up a gaudy 20-15 for Wake. J'Covan Brown had 20 for the Longhorns.

11 Washington 80 6 Marquette 78- Marquette's season of wild, close games came to the end in a wild, close game. Marquette lost a 14 point lead with 14 minutes to go, and fell behind at the 5 minute mark. The lead went back and forth before Maurice Acker hit a pair of free throws with 2:26 left. The Huskies tied the score on free throws by Venoy Overton with 2:09 left. Both teams missed shots, but Quincy Pondexter pulled home an offensive rebound with under 39 seconds left. He dribbled the clock down, and took his man to the rim for the game winning bucket. A halfcourt heave was short. Pondexter had 18-11, most in the second half, but Isaiah Thomas lead with 19-8 assists. For Marquette, Lazar Hayward had 20, and Darius Johnson-Odom 19.

1 Kentucky 100- 16 East Tennessee St 71- Kentucky dominated of course. Eric Bledsoe had 29, John Wall 17-11 assists, and Patrick Patterson 22. The Bucs got 19 from Micah Williams.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cincinnati 76 Weber State 62

(AP/Al Behrman)

Since you didn't go to the game, you missed out on history. Deonta Vaughn powered UC in their first round NIT game with a win over Weber State. Vaughn got assist 505 to become the all time leader in assists. In the second half, Vaughn drilled a 3 to pass Darnell Burton and take the title of most 3 pointers made in a career. It was a special night for #5. Vaughn needs 26 pass to pass Danny Fortson for 3rd place all time in scoring. Congratulations to Deonta. Monday night, Cincinnati plays host to Dayton at 9 pm. Will Bearcats Blog be there? Maybe. It won't be hard to get a ticket apparently. Let's get on to the recap.

The game started off slowly, as we only had 2 baskets made the first 4 minutes. They were 3s from Ibrahima Thomas, and Lance Stephenson. Damian Lillard hit a 3 for the first points for the Wildcats, followed by a Steve Panos lay up. Darnell Wilks hit another UC 3, answered by a Nick Hansen triple. The Wildcats took a 10-9 lead on a Trevor Morris lay up. Cincinnati took the lead after the under 12, as Dion Dixon hit a couple of free throws. The half started off incredibly sloppy. Lots of missed shots and turnovers. The free throws started a 7-0 UC run, with a Thomas dunk, and a Jaquan Parker steal, lay up, foul and free throw. The Wildcats went on a 9-4 advantage to cut the lead to 20-19. Morris hit a jumper, Ibby made a pair for free throws for UC, Lindsey Hughey scored a lay up, Thomas was stripped for a Morris layup, Stephenson hit a pair of free throws and Hughey drilled a 3. UC would respond with a monster run, thanks to their press the last 6:30. Lance hit another 3, Vaughn got a steal, passed to Cashmere Wright for a jam. Another turnover on the inbound pass led to Vaughn hitting Stephenson for a lay up and the assist record. On another turnover, Vaughn hit Cash for 3. Things slowed down for the next minute, until Cash picked Lillard and threw ahead to Wilks, who threw down a reverse pump jam. 

Weber State turned the ball over yet again into the under 4, leading to a Stephenson jumper. A minute later, a Gates steal turned into a Wilks miss, a Cash rebound and assist to Vaughn for 3. The 17-0 run ended on a Lillard 3. He made another trey to cut the lead to 12, but at the end of the half, Vaughn hit Larry Davis for 3. The 20-6 run gave UC a 40-25 halftime lead. Weber St had 15 turnovers.

Steve Panos got the second half scoring started with a 15 footer. UC's first points came on Vaughn's record breaking 3. Weber St took a timeout after the make, allowing the crowd to acknowledge Vaughn's assist and 3 point record. Wilks showed off his athleticism in the next sequence. He blocked a shot from behind, and followed that by slamming down an alley oop from Lance, with a foul. Lillard and Gates traded lay ups, then Lillard and Vaughn traded 3s, and we went to the under 16 with UC up 50-32. The lead went to 20 on a pair of Vaughn free throws. Panos and Gates traded a layup and a wide open dunk respectively. Hughey drew a foul, and missed the first 2 free throws for Weber State of the game. They came at the 13 minute mark. Morris scored a basket with a foul, making the free throw to cut the lead to 17. Lance Stephenson made a lay up, and that kicked Weber State into a run. Mahoney made a layup, Lillard a scoop layup, Mahoney 2 free throws, Hughey a lay up, foul, free throw, and Bullinger was fouled, making 1 of 2. Cincinnati settled for jump shots, going 0 for 8, highlighted by an airballed Lance Stephenson 3, in which he was wide open. The 11-0 run ended when Vaughn found Jaquan Parker for 3. Hansen answered right back though. Cash scored a lay up at the 7 minute mark to push the lead to 10, but ended up hurting his hip. Weber kept the lead close. After Larry Davis made a pair of free throws, Lillard scored a lay up and 2 free throws to cut the lead to 8. UC would put the smack down to close things out though. Ibrahima Thomas hit a pair of free throws to push the lead to 10. Yancy Gates blocked Panos, who was falling away. Coach Rahe of the Wildcats thought it was a foul. He argued his case poorly and received a technical foul. Vaughn stepped up and made both. Gates got another block, leading to Larry Davis hitting a jumper to make it 69-55 at the under 4. Gates pushed the lead to 16 after he pulled down an offensive rebound, looked to pass out, but turned around and scored. Deonta Vaughn drilled a 4th triple, making the UC total 11, a season high. Lillard and Gates traded layups, before Hansen made a pair of free throws. Eddie Tyree and Alex Eppensteiner got some run the last minute. Eppensteiner got a trillion without touching the ball, but Tyree was stripped, leading to an alley oop to Tyree, who was fouled and made the free throw to end the scoring. 

Cincinnati shot 25-64 39%, 11-28 39%, 15-16 at the stripe, with 33 rebounds, 11 offensive. UC had a whooping 21 assists on the night, probably a season high. Deonta Vaughn had a great game with 16-5-7 assists-2 steals, Lance Stephenson 14, Ibrahima Thomas 9-5, Yancy Gates 8-6-3 steals-2 blocks, Larry Davis 7, Cashmere Wright 7-5 assists, Darnell Wilks 7, Jaquan Parker 6-5, and Dion Dixon 2-4. Weber State was 21-47 44.7%, 7-18, 13-17 at the line, with 30 rebounds, 4 offensive. They turned the ball over 22 times. Damian Lillard went for 26, Trevor Morris 9-4, Lindsey Hughey 8-6-4 assists, Steve Panos 6-4, Darin Mahoney 4, and Kyle Bullinger 1. 

Cincinnati was pretty energetic considering they had no one show up to watch them play. 2,200 was the attendance according to the Enquirer. The Cincinnati Enquirer, not the tabloid paper. It's all about winning, and that's something that the Bearcats did tonight. That's the good thing. Up next, it's the Dayton Flyers. Dayton hasn't won a game in Cincinnati since 1834. Let's see that streak continue. It's March people, get up for this. 

Quick NIT results: 2 Rhode Island 76 7 Northwestern 64, 1 Virginia Tech 81 8 Quinnipiac 61, 3 Dayton 63 6 Illinois St 42, 4 Kent State 75 5 Tulsa 74, 2 Mississippi 84 7 Troy 65, 3 Memphis 73 6 St John's 71, 6 Nevada 73 3 Wichita State 70, and 1 Illinois 76 8 Stony Brook 66. 

Breaking Down the Brackets: West

Even though the Cincinnati Bearcats are in the NIT, does not mean that you won't get an awesome NCAA Tournament preview. We kicked things off with games in the SouthEast, and Midwest. Now, we finish up with the West region. Before you jump in, sign up for the Bearcats Blog Tournament Challenge. It's on Search for Bearcats Blog, or click here. Stats by Ken Pomeroy


1 Syracuse Orange 28-4 
How they got here: At large (Big East Regular Season Champions)
Best Players: Wesley Johnson 16-8.4-2.3 assists-1.7 steals-1.9 blocks Andy Rautins 11.7-5 assists-2 steals
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 9/20

16 Vermont Catamounts 25-9 
How they got here: America East Tournament Champions
Best Players: Marqus Blakely 17.4-9.4-3.7 assists-2.4 steals-1.9 blocks Maurice Joseph 14.1-2.6
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 142/135

Predicted Winner (KenPom/Me): Syracuse by 17. I actually think this one will be closer. Not like 3 points closer, but inside 17.

8 Gonzaga Bulldogs 26-6 
How they got here: At large (WCC Regular Season Champions)
Best Players: Matt Bouldin 15.8-4.6-4.1 assists-1.4 steals Elias Harris 14.7-7.2
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 44/66

9 Florida State Seminoles 22-9
How they got here: At large (ACC 3rd place tie)
Best Players: Solomon Alabi 11.6-6.2-2.4 blocks Chris Singleton 10.3-7.1-2.2 assists-2.3 steals-1.5 blocks
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 118/1

Predicted Winner (KenPom/Me): Florida St by 4. Kind of surprising, but like Ken Pom, I expect Florida St to lock down Gonzaga. The Noles can't score very well, but they won't let you score either.

4 Vanderbilt Commodores 24-8
How they got here: At large (SEC 2nd place)
Best Players: Jermaine Beal 14.7-3.2 assists A.J Ogilvy 13.4-6.2-1.5 blocks
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 25/64

13 Murray State Racers 30-4 
How they got here: Ohio Valley Tournament Champions 
Best Players: Ivan Aska 10.6-4.9 B.J Jenkins 10.5-3.2 assists-1.8 assists
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 67/45

Predicted Winner (KenPom/Me): Vanderbilt by 3. Murray's top players may not have the greatest numbers, but they are really balanced. I like them to pull the upset. 

5 Butler Bulldogs 28-4
How they got here: Horizon League Tournament Champions 
Best Players: Gordon Hayward 15.4-8.5 Shelvin Mack 13.9-3.5-3.1 assists-1.8 steals
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 54/16

12 UTEP Miners 26-6
How they got here: At large (C-USA Regular Season Champions)
Best Players: Randy Culpepper 18-1.8 steals Derrick Caracter  13.8-8
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 78/14

Predicted Winner (KenPom/Me): Butler by 2. This is a toss up, and I think Butler is going to take it down.

2 Kansas State Wildcats 26-7 
How they got here: At large (Big 12 2nd Place)
Best Players: Jacob Pullen 19.8-3.5 assists-1.8 steals Denis Clemente 16.2-4.2 assists
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 15/17

15 North Texas Mean Green 24-8 
How they got here: Sun Belt Tournament Champions
Best Players: Josh White 14.9-3.5 assists Tristan Thompson 14.1-3.3
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 157/178

Predicted Winner (KenPom/Me): Kansas St by 20. Of course

7 Brigham Young Cougars 29-5 
How they got here: At large (MWC 2nd Place)
Best Players: Jimmer Fredette 21.7-3.1-4.7 assists-1.2 steals Jackson Emery 12.6-4.5-2.8 assists-2.7 steals
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 10/21

10 Florida Gators 21-12 
How they got here: At large (SEC East 4)
Best Players: Kenny Boynton 13.6-2.6-2.7 assists Erving Walker 12.6-3.4-4.9 assists-1.4 steals 
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 36/69

Predicted Winner (KenPom/Me): BYU by 7. Ken Pom loves them some BYU, and in this match up, I do as well.

3 Pittsburgh Panthers 24-8 
How they got here: At large (Big East 5th place)
Best Players: Ashton Gibbs 15.8 Brad Wanamaker 12.1-5.7-4.7 assists-1.2 steals
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 41/32

14 Oakland Grizzles 26-8 
How they got here: Summit League Champions 
Best Players: Keith Benson 17-10.5-3.4 blocks
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 97/212

Predicted Winner (KenPom/Me): Pittsburgh by 12. I agree

6 Xavier Musketeers 24-8 
How they got here: At large (A-10 2nd Place)
Best Players: Jordan Crawford 19.7-4.8-2.9 assists
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 16/51

11 Minnesota Golden Gophers 21-13 
How they got here: At large (Big 10 6th Place)
Best Players: Lawrence Westbrook 12.6-2.6 Blake Hoffarber 10.1-3.5
Ken Pom Off/Def Rank: 23/43

Predicted Winner (KenPom/Me): Xavier by 1. This is yet another 6-11 toss up. I think the Muskies are better though.