Cincinnati Men's Basketball 2016 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Cincinnati Bearcats
American (22-10, 12-6)
Cincinnati quietly put together a solid 2015-2016 campaign. They were never flashy and failed to pick up that eye popping win, but this is a Bearcats team that has the talent and experience to make some noise in March. Their losses were not bad losses and many of those defeats were by just two points. The Bearcats lost to Butler, Iowa State, SMU and Tulsa all by two points apiece. This is a team that can hang in there with anybody. Whether or not they can make that big play down the stretch when the lights are shining bright in March remains to be seen.
Big Wins: 12/19 at VCU (69-63), 1/2 Tulsa (76-57), 1/28 at Connecticut (58-57)
Bad Losses: 12/29 Temple (70-77), 2/6 at Memphis (59-63), 3/3 at Houston (56-69)
Coach: Mick Cronin
Why They Can Surprise:
The frontcourt trio of Shaq Thomas, Gary Clark and Octavius Ellis has turned this into one of the best rebounding and shot blocking teams in the country. Thomas has not put up big numbers this season, but he is capable of doing more than his 6.1 point and 3.8 rebound averages would indicate. Clark, a 6-7 sophomore, has emerged as the team’s top interior scorer and rebounder. What makes Clark so dangerous is the fact that he is a threat to step back and knock down mid-range jumpers and the occasional three-pointer. But he will certainly get his fair share of points in the paint as well. Along with Clark, Ellis is also a very good shot blocker. Ellis is also averaging 10.0 points and 7.7 rebounds per game and Coach Mick Cronin almost always has two very dangerous and capable scorers in the paint. Senior center Coreontae DeBerry keeps the toughness going in the frontcourt off of the bench. Even though the frontcourt deserves a lot of credit for this team’s success, Troy Caupain is still the team’s star. The point guard is averaging 13.2 points and 4.8 assists during his junior season and he is the unquestioned leader of this team.
Why They Can Disappoint:
Unfortunately, Caupain is not shooting very well this season. He has hit just 37.5 percent of his attempts from the floor and 32.1 percent from beyond the arc. Farad Cobb has fared better from long range, but other shooters like Jacob Evans and Kevin Johnson have been just as inconsistent as Caupain. That group on the perimeter has also struggled defensively at times. The frontcourt and their shot blocking ability has kept opponents on the perimeter and for many teams that has worked out very well since the Bearcats allow the opposition to shoot 35.5 percent from beyond the arc. That is almost as well as they shoot overall from the floor. That means a team that is knocking down three-pointers will have the opportunity to beat Cincinnati…and probably by more than two points.
Probable Starters:
Troy Caupain, Junior, Guard, 13.2 ppg, 4.8 apg
Farad Cobb, Senior, Guard, 10.7 ppg, 1.6 apg
Shaq Thomas, Senior, Forward, 6.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg
Gary Clark, Sophomore, Forward, 10.7 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 1.5 bpg
Octavius Ellis, Senior, Forward, 10.0 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.5 bpg
Key Roleplayers:
Coreontae DeBerry, Senior, Center, 5.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg
Jacobs Evans, Freshman, Guard, 7.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg
Kevin Johnson, Junior, Guard, 6.2 ppg, 1.6 apg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 72.4 (190th in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 61.5 (8, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.0 (225, 6)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.8 (11, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.5 (122, 2)   
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.4 (182, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.2 (156, 4)
Rebound Margin:  4.7 (51, 2)
Assists Per Game:  15.5 (50, 2)
Turnovers Per Game:  11.0 (36, 4)
Recent Postseason Appearances:
2015    NCAA Second Round win over Purdue
2015    NCAA Third Round loss to Kentucky
2014    NCAA Second Round loss to Harvard
2013    NCAA Second Round loss to Creighton
2012    NCAA Second Round win over Texas
2012    NCAA Third Round win over Florida State
2012    NCAA Regional semifinal loss to Ohio State
2011    NCAA Round of 64 win over Missouri
2011    NCAA Round of 32 loss to Connecticut
2010    NIT      First Round win over Weber State
2010    NIT      Second Round loss to Dayton
2008    CBI      First Round loss to Bradley
2006    NIT      First Round win over Charlotte
2006    NIT      Second Round win over Minnesota
2006    NIT      Quarterfinal loss to South Carolina
2005    NCAA Round of 64 win over Iowa
2005    NCAA Round of 32 loss to Kentucky
*all team stats through 3/6