Cincinnati Men's Basketball 2013 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Cincinnati Bearcats
Big East (22-11, 9-9)

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Cincinnati is one of those teams that never really challenges for the Big East crown, but they are skilled and pesky and find a way to get a bid to the NCAA tournament year in and year out.  That is a testament to the job Mick Cronin has done there.  He finds a great blend of talent and guys that will fit into his system.  Unfortunately, 2012-2013 has not been quite as kind to the Bearcats.  After beginning the season 12-0, Cincinnati found themselves squarely on the bubble in the last week of the season after losing six of their last nine contests.  

Big Wins: 11/23 vs Iowa State (78-70), 11/24 vs Oregon (77-66), 1/19 Marquette (71-69)
Bad Losses: 1/5 St. John’s (52-53), 1/7 Notre Dame (60-66), 2/6 at Providence (50-54)
Coach: Mick Cronin (7 seasons at Cincinnati)

Why They Can Surprise:
Cincinnati has a lot of beef underneath.  That is to say the Bearcats have the players to enforce their will when it comes to attacking the glass.  Cheikh Mbodj and Justin Jackson lead the team in blocks.  Both are at least 6’8” and can take opponents to task when they try and drive the lane.  In the same vein, Cincinnati is a strong rebounding team as well.  At 40-plus rebounds per game they rank in the top ten nationally.  They generally outrebound their opponents by about seven per contest.  The Bearcats tend to get a lot of opportunities to nab those rebounds.  They force their opponents to shoot just 38.8 percent from the field (their opponents average less than 60 points per game).  On the other end of the floor, Sean Kilpatrick and Cashmere Wright are stellar at finding the basket.  Kilpatrick is among the leaders in the Big East at 16.9 points per game.  Those two players must be hot for Cincinnati to do any damage in the postseason.

Why They Can Disappoint:
Beyond Kilpatrick and Wright, Cincinnati does not have many scoring options.  They shoot the ball terribly from the field (second worst in the Big East) no matter if it’s inside the three-point arc or outside.  Forty percent shooting does them no favors.  Their defense has kept them in games, and they have found a way to win when it matters.  It is evident that poor shooting has caught up to them, however.  Other teams appear to be getting better and Cincinnati has regressed.  They are going to have to find a way out of their late-season swoon if they really want to go far in the tournaments.  What is going to hurt them even more is that they are one of the worst foul shooting teams in the nation.  They shoot under 65 percent from the charity stripe.  They make it difficult for themselves to win when they cannot put teams away and that becomes a bigger problem in March.

Probable Starters:
Cashmere Wright, Senior, Guard, 12.6 ppg, 3.1 apg, 2.4 rpg
Sean Kilpatrick, Junior, Guard, 16.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg
JaQuon Parker, Senior, Guard, 11.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg
Cheikh Mbodj, Senior, Center, 5.2 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.7 bpg
Titus Rubles, Junior, Forward, 5.7 ppg, 2.0 apg, 5.8 rpg

Key Roleplayers:
Jermaine Sanders, Sophomore, Forward, 3.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg
David Nyarsuk, Freshman, Center, 2.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg
Justin Jackson, junior, Forward, 3.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 67.6 (171st in nation, 10th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 59.1 (26, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 40.3 (304, 14)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.8 (21, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.9 (97, 2)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 31.6 (254, 10)
Free-Throw Percentage: 64.7 (300, 14)
Rebound Margin: 6.8 (15, 2)
Assists Per Game: 12.4 (197, 13)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.8 (131, 8)

Last Five Postseason Appearances:
2012    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Texas
2012    NCAA    Round of 32 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

*all team stats through 3/10


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