Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cincinnati Bearcats extremly late season preview!!!

Hey fellow Cats fans! I'm sure you've all been biting your nails in anticipation of(booming voice from above)"The Worlds Greatest Bearcat Basketball Preview Ever".  The lateness can be attributed to many things but I'll just chalk it up to good ol' Slackerdom and PROcrastination(caps for pro because I am beyond a shadow of a doubt(my apologies to Ric Flair) a professional at not doing things in a timely manner). Anywho lets get on with the Actual preview.

I want to have high expectations for our Bearcats this year I really do. I was leaning toward a top half of the Big East prediction as recently as a six weeks ago and then it happened. The only true point Guard on the team Fr. Cashmere Wright tore his ACL and is out for the season. After a few nights of crying myself to sleep I tempered my expectations, reevaluated the situation and decided it could still be okay. Coach Cronin still seems excited and said he would make some adjustments and move forward so I will to. 

After reviewing all the information, factoring in that I'm a total homer, and just to thumb my nose at EVERY other Bearcat Preview I am picking the Bearcats to finish 9th in the Big East with a possible 7th or 8th place finish if everything goes EXTREMELY well. Heres how I see it.

1. Connecticut
2. Louisville
3. Pittsburgh
4. Marquette
5. Notre Dame
6. Villanova
7. Georgetown
8. West Virginia
9. Cincinnati
10. Syracuse
11. Providence
12. Rutgers
13. Seton Hall
14. DePaul
15. St. Johns
16. South Florida

I jumped the Cats ahead of the Friars and the Orange as opposed to behind them in every other preview I read for two reasons 

1. The Friars are learning a new system under a new coach.
2. Syracuse is ALWAYS overrated.
Okay three reasons
3. I HATE Syracuse is this biased? Yes. Do I care? Nope. 

Now lets look @ the Bearcats Roster.

First the new guys

Dion Dixon, G, Fr., Chicago, Ill., 6-3, 180
Chicago, Ill./Crane

- Mick sees something in him others did not including others on his staff. He has looked good in exhibition play especially at rebounding the ball. One of the things Cronin liked about him.
- Will be asked to play the point some to take pressure off of Vaughn and Will play some shooting guard on order to give Vaughn a rest. 

Yancy Gates, C, Fr., 6-9, 255
Cincinnati, Ohio/Withrow

- Averaged 21.2 ppg, 10.8 rpg and 1.2 blocks per game as a senior.
- Has looked very good in the two exhibition games. Needs to continue to work on post positioning and working for his shot. Could be a game changer if he works hard.  

Steven Toyloy, C, Jr., 6-8, 255
West Palm Beach, Fla./Miami-Dade CC

- Led all junior college players with 12.9 rpg in 2006-07 to go along with 9.8 ppg.

- Will be counted on for just that. Rebounds and more rebounds with put backs getting him easy buckets. 
Mike Williams, F, Sr., 6-7, 240
Camden, Ala./Wilcox Central/Texas

- By now we all know his story. After two seasons as a spectator lets hope he can get back to the level that made him a McDonalds All-American. 
- In the two exhibitions he has been VERY impressive. Exactly what the Cats need to compete with the Big East bigs.

A few notes on the other new guys.

John Riek, C, Fr., 7-1, 237
Sudan/Winchendon School (Mass.)
- As far as I'm concerned this guy is a total question mark. He passed his college entrance exams but still awaits a NCAA Decision. He was the #1 ranked center in this class so if he plays the skies the limit. 

Cashmere Wright, G, Fr., 6-0, 170
Savannah, Ga./Urban Christian
- He will spend the year on the bench hopefully soaking up Cronins knowledge like a sponge. 
- Hopefully this becomes a motivating factor for the rest of his career at UC. Nothing is guaranteed. Work your but off and we'll see you next year.

Now the returning players

Deonta Vaughn, Jr.

- We all know whats expected of him. With more top flight talent around and less pressure can he take his game to another level?

Larry Davis, So.

- Hopefully continues his development Will be counted on to play lots of minutes.

Anthony McClain, So.

- He better improve on his performances in the exhibitions or he will be running alot in practice. At his size he should have dominated the lesser competition in those games. 

Alvin Mitchell, So. 

- It wasn't long ago that we all thought he was going to be a very good player. A team suspension and an offseason of working his butt off later. Lets hope that he can get back to slashing to the basket and making jumpers. 

Darnell Wilks, So.

Rashad Bishop, So.

Kenny Belton, So.

Brandon Miller, Sr. 

- I was happy to see Brandon on the cover of the media guide with Vaughn and Willams. He works hard and deserves the recognition

Team Summary

With so many young players in large roles this team will have many ups and downs. The starting lineup may not be solidified until close to conference play. The best case lineup would be Vaughn, Williams, Riek, Gates and Davis with major minutes from Toyloy, Mitchell, and Dixon. Taking Riek out of the mix throws Toyloy into that role which he will probably hold until December anyway.

The MUCH easier non-conference schedule should lead to a better record going into the Big East which is nice since the conference figures to be much more difficult this season than last. My hope is that the teams in the top half of the league beat each other up badly enough that the Cats will have a chance to break into the top eight by the end of the year which would almost guarantee a spot in the big dance. 

Okay folks that it! REJOICE, REJOICE!! College Basketball is here!!! 

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