Cincinnati Men's Basketball 2014 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Cincinnati Bearcats
American (27-6, 15-3)


The Cincinnati Bearcats had a fantastic season and one that was a bit surprising in its excellence. Coming into the season, the first ever for the American Athletic Conference, folks thought it would be a three-team race between Louisville, Memphis and UConn. In fact, everyone was pretty sure it would be Louisville's conference to lose and those other guys would be battling for second. Instead, Cincinnati busted through, along with SMU, to make the AAC's first basketball season more compelling than anyone would have predicted.

Big Wins: 1/4 at Memphis (69-53), 1/30 at Louisville (69-66), 3/6 Memphis (97-84)
Bad Losses: 12/14 vs Xavier (47-64), 2/8 at SMU (55-76), 2/22 Louisville (57-58)
Coach: Mick Cronin (8 seasons at Cincinnati)

Why They Can Surprise:
The Bearcats have won a number of good games this season. Besides beating the likes of Pittsburgh and NC State out-of-conference, they took down Memphis on the road and they took down Louisville on the road. Much of the success this season was due to Sean Kilpatrick. The senior guard was one of the very best players in the conference, if not the country. Although he doesn't shoot particularly well from three (and takes a TON of threes), Kilpatrick was probably the best scoring guard in the AAC. And that's saying something with the likes of Shabazz Napier and Russ Smith competing with him. Paired with Justin Jackson, the Bearcats had a superb inside-outside duo. Jackson and his 2.9 blocks per game helped make Cincinnati one of the very best defenses in the country, both in terms of opponent's field-goal percentage and opponent's points per game. Compounding the problem for opponents is that Cincinnati routinely goes nine deep on the bench, constantly rotating in fresh bodies who get after it on the defensive side.

Why They Can Disappoint:
Much of Cincinnati's struggles this season have come when they are held below 60 points. The Bearcats actually failed to reach even 50 points in back to back games in December. Other than Kilpatrick, and occasionally Jackson, there are very few threats on this roster that opponents have to account for. Although accurate 5-man unit data is not available as an official stat, it goes to figure that UC would show poorly in all iterations where Kilpatrick is on the bench. Relying on just one man for most of a team's offense is cause for concern, even someone as talented as the Bearcat senior. Case in point, in Cincinnati's rematch with UConn the first day of March, Kilpatrick couldn't get anything going, finishing 4-of-16 from the floor for 16 points. However, the team finished with just 45 points in the loss as no one was able to pick up the slack.

Probable Starters:
Sean Kilpatrick, Senior, Guard, 20.7 ppg, 2.6 apg
Ge'Lawn Guyn, Junior, Guard, 4.6 ppg, 1.0 apg
Titus Rubles, Senior, Forward, 7.3 ppg, 6.7 rpg
Shaquille Thomas, Sophomore, Forward, 6.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg
Justin Jackson, Senior, Forward, 11.1 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 2.9 bpg

Key Roleplayers:
Jermaine Sanders, Junior, Forward, 5.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg
Troy Caupain, Freshman, Guard, 5.5 ppg, 2.3 apg
Kevin Johnson, Freshman, Guard, 3.8 ppg
Jermaine Lawrence, Freshman, Forward, 2.9 ppg, 2.9 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 69.4 (222th in nation, 9th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 58.4 (4, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.8 (252, 9)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.4 (17, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.9 (207, 7)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.4 (205, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.6 (112, 3)
Rebound Margin: 4.6 (43, 2)
Assists Per Game: 12.8 (162, 8)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.1 (60, 3)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
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 3/9


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules