#47 Cincinnati Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

Cincinnati Bearcats

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #47
Conference Rank: #4 American

Cincinnati Team Page#47 Cincinnati Men's Basketball 2013-2014 PreviewBuy Cincinnati Basketball Tickets

Cincinnati and Mick Cronin are hoping for a more successful return trip to the NCAA Tournament. Last year the Bearcats fell to Creighton in the Round of 64. The potential for a deeper run this year is there thanks to the return of Sean Kilpatrick. The 6-4 senior averaged 17.0 points and is an extremely dangerous scorer from anywhere on the floor. Once again the Bearcats will rely heavily on Kilpatrick, yet he does need to be more efficient. He shot just 39.8 percent from the floor and 30.7 percent from beyond the arc.

2012-13 Record: 22-12, 9-9
2012-13 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Mick Cronin
Coach Record: 135-100 at Cincinnati, 205-124 overall

Who’s Out:
The problem Cincinnati had last year and will have again this year is finding a few more scorers. In 2012-2013, Cashmere Wright and JaQuon Parker were at least threats to score, but those two are now gone. Wright ran the show and was second on the squad with 12.7 points per game. Parker was easily the most efficient outside shooter on the team, connecting on 40.0 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. Without those two, the pressure will be on Kilpatrick to score even more and the opposing defense will certainly know that. The Bearcats also lose frontcourt players Cheikh Mbodj and Kelvin Gaines. While Gaines only provided occasional size in the paint last season, Mbodj was a regular starter. Mbodj was never much of a scorer, but he was a strong rebounder and a very productive shot blocker.

Who’s In:
Coach Cronin has another good recruiting class with power forward Jermaine Lawrence leading the way. The hope is Lawrence can turn into a much needed scoring threat. At 6-9 and 190 pounds, he will need to keep adding weight, yet he is a superb athlete who has all of the skills to turn into a starter and a double-digit scorer as a freshman. However, it remains to be seen if he is mentally prepared to step into a tough AAC. Jamaree Strickland will provide some depth in the paint although he will need time after struggling with a knee injury the last couple of years. Swingman DeShaun Morman is brimming with potential. He can a bit of everything and, for now, what Cincinnati needs him to do is score. Troy Caupain and Kevin Johnson are expected to compete for minutes at the point and off the ball. Both are capable ball handlers and decent enough scoring threats at this point in their careers. Caupain is a bit more of a point guard than Johnson and he could end up starting sooner rather than later. Either way, both will have to see some quality minutes.

Who to Watch:
There are options among the newcomers to help take the scoring pressure off of Kilpatrick, yet the experience of the returning players will put the load on their shoulders for now. However, no returning player except Kilpatrick averaged more than 5.9 points per game during the 2012-2013 campaign. On the perimeter, sophomore Ge’Lawn Guyn will have to worry about finding his teammates and not scoring. Jeremiah Davis III played in just four games last season before suffering a season ending injury. He is not a proven scorer, but he can provide a nice spark off of the bench and knock down a few three-pointers. Small forward Jermaine Sanders has the potential to be a quality all-around scorer if he can knock down the long ball with more consistency. The frontcourt boasts plenty of options and depth will not be an issue there. Titus Rubles had a decent debut campaign with Cincinnati, but shot just 9.3 percent from beyond the arc. At some point after making just 4 of 43 attempts from long range, Rubles should just stay inside the arc. He is a good passer though and can finish around the basket. Shaquille Thomas had a disappointing freshman season and the expectations are still high for him to take the next step. Justin Jackson is a very versatile big man. He will hit the glass hard, block some shots and even pass effectively from the post. David Nyarsuk is a great shot blocker too and the 7-1 center totaled 29 blocks in limited action last season.

Final Projection:
If Cincinnati is going to make it back to the NCAA Tournament, somebody other than Kilpatrick is going to have to score. The Bearcats do have everything else they need. Guyn and Caupain can run the show effectively, while Rubles and Jackson can lead the way in the rebounding department and Jackson and Nyarsuk will be very good defensively in the paint. But some of those role players need to do more. If the opposition can simply shut down Kilpatrick, the occasionally anemic Cincinnati offense is going to be worse this time around. Coach Cronin wants to use his depth, athleticism and defensive prowess to pressure more defensively and that could be a great way to spark the offense and pick up a few easy buckets. Somebody still has to take advantage of those opportunities though.

Projected Postseason Tournament:  NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Ge’Lawn Guyn, Sophomore, Guard, 2.4 points per game
Sean Kilpatrick, Senior, Guard, 17.0 points per game
Jermaine Sanders, Junior, Forward, 3.1 points per game
Jermaine Lawrence, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season
Justin Jackson, Senior, Forward, 3.8 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 66.5 (197th in nation, 10th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 59.0 (22, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 40.3 (303, 14)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.7 (14, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.8 (106, 2)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 31.6 (255, 8)
Free-Throw Percentage: 64.7 (302, 14)
Rebound Margin: 6.2 (22, 2)
Assists Per Game: 12.2 (212, 13)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.7 (127, 8)

Madness 2014 NBA Draft Rankings:
#50 Sean Kilpatrick

Madness 2013 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#21 Jermaine Lawrence


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