Cincinnati Bearcats (Overall: 29-5, Conf: 16-2)
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Offensively, the Bearcats are able to do everything on the floor nicely – not greatly, but nicely. They have the speed to push the pace and the athleticism to get to the basket, and could also hit from distance whenever they’re on. To mix all of it well, the team has one of the AAC’s best great floor generals in Troy Caupain, who’s second in the conference in dimes.
Their two main options – Jacob Evans and Kyle Washington – both put up 13 or more PPG and can provide inside and outside attack. Evans, a sophomore guard, has a good stroke and can be relied on the perimeter, while Washington, a transferee from NC state, gives an efficient overall production. In just 25 minutes of action, he contributes 13.3 points and team-leading numbers of 7.1 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per contest.
Topping all of those abilities off is the great team defense. Placing at the 7th spot, Cincy (+7,000) is the highest-rated AAC team in Kenpom.com’s defensive efficiency rankings. They finished the conference play allowing the fewest points, assists, and threes. Additionally, the 60.2 PPG they gave up overall is the fourth-fewest in the nation.
Remember how we said “not greatly, but nicely”? It may sound contradicting, but being only respectable at best on offense is also a weakness, especially when you consider the heightened intensity and pressure of the NCAA tournament.
Having a mid-tier level of offense allowed them to win a lot against the AAC because they were the group’s best defensive squad and every other team in there can’t shoot – Cincy only shot 43 percent from the field and they were second in the conference! Think about that.
Now that they’re on a much bigger stage with much better teams to face, they can’t expect their defense to continue being their saviors. They will probably struggle to score and keep up when they matchup with the UCLAs and Villanovas of the tourney.
|CATEGORY||STAT / G||NCAA RANK|
|Field goal percentage||46.0||97th|
|Free throw percentage||66.9||279th|
The Bearcats (+7,000) get knocked out at the round of 32.
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