Cincinnati Men's Basketball 2012 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Cincinnati Bearcats
Big East Conference (24-10, 12-6)

Unlike some of the other teams that shared the bubble team moniker with Cincinnati, whether these teams made the Big Dance or the NIT, the Bearcats have some very impressive wins. In the span of 18 days in the month of January, Cincinnati beat then number 22 Pittsburgh, Georgetown when they were ranked 11th and UConn when they claimed the 11 ranking, all on the road. Throw in a convincing win over Notre Dame in the teams’ only meeting and a late February win against Louisville, and the Bearcats’ resume doesn’t look too shabby. However, what kept them on the bubble rather than comfortably in the NCAA Tournament were the bad losses. The third game of the season, Presbyterian took them down at home: an embarrassing defeat for any major conference squad. Six days later they lost another home game, this time to Marshall University. Some well-known Marshall alums include Randy Moss and Chad Pennington. A list of some well-known Marshall basketball alums includes Hal Greer 50 years ago and…that’s it.  

Big Wins: 1/1 at Pittsburgh (66-63), 1/9 at Georgetown (68-64), 1/18 at Connecticut (70-67)
Bad Losses: 11/19 Presbyterian (54-56), 11/25 Marshall (69-73), 1/7 St. John’s (55-57)
Coach: Mick Cronin (6 seasons at Cincinnati)

Why They Can Surprise:
The wins speak for themselves. This team has the ability to beat anybody on any given night. They forced 17 turnovers and collected an insane 13 steals in their early January win at Georgetown. They hit 11 three pointers in their win at Connecticut a week and a half later. The Bearcats made another 11 three pointers in their late season win against a rolling Louisville club proving they have certain skill sets that, on a given night, can take down any foe. In addition, Cincinnati spreads their scoring around and gets most of their production from upperclassmen. In March, the ability to spread the pressure around on experienced players to close out games is invaluable. A starting lineup of two seniors and two juniors is anchored by guard Dion Dixon and forward Yancy Gates. Each man has contributed solid minutes to Mick Cronin’s clubs for four years now, Gates having averaged double figures every season. Winning close games is not necessarily a skill set and yet Cincinnati has the pieces to challenge anyone who comes at them in the tournament.

Why They Can Disappoint:
Unequivocally and ironically, Cincinnati’s losses also speak for themselves. Losing the games they did in the way they did speaks to a lack of concentration night in and night out. While the Bearcats can take down powerful opponents, they can also be vanquished by lesser ones. And although they have a lot of experience and play veteran guys, their stats don’t always back up what a veteran club should do. They do not shoot the ball well from the floor or from the outside and their free throw numbers are particularly jarring. When your starting point guard cannot even make two thirds of his free throws, it is a red flag. When he is not even close to the worst free throw shooter out of your starters, it is a giant, flashing warning sign.

Probable Starters:
Cashmere Wright, Junior, Guard, 10.9 ppg, 4.6 apg
Dion Dixon, Senior, Guard, 13.1 ppg, 2.1 apg
Sean Kilpatrick, Sophomore, Guard, 14.3 ppg, 2.1 apg, 4.6 rpg
Jaquon Parker, Junior, Guard, 9.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg
Yancy Gates, Senior, Forward, 12.4 ppg, 9.2 rpg

Key Roleplayers:
Justin Jackson, Sophomore, Forward, 5.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.6 bpg
Ge’Lawn Guyn, Freshman, Guard, 2.5 ppg
Cheikh Mbodj, Junior, Center, 1.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 69.1 (147th in nation, 9th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 61.0 (34, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.1 (243, 15)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.1 (78, 8)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.4 (71, 1)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.0 (139, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 64.7 (291, 16)
Rebound Margin: 0.6 (167, 11)
Assists Per Game: 13.1 (145, 12)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.5 (8, 2)

Last Five Postseason Appearances:
Cincinnati    2011    NCAA        Round of 64 win over Missouri
Cincinnati    2011    NCAA        Round of 32 loss to Connecticut
Cincinnati    2010    NIT           First Round win over Weber State
Cincinnati    2010    NIT           Second Round loss to Dayton
Cincinnati    2008    CBI           First Round loss to Bradley
Cincinnati    2006    NIT           First Round win over Charlotte
Cincinnati    2006    NIT           Second Round win over Minnesota
Cincinnati    2006    NIT           Quarterfinal loss to South Carolina
Cincinnati    2005    NCAA        Round of 64 win over Iowa
Cincinnati    2005    NCAA        Round of 32 loss to Kentucky

*all team stats through 3/4

See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules