Is a Bearcat bred for its skills in magic? [Cincinnati Preview]

dave@friarblog —  January 7th, 2009 6:44 AM
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It’s pretty much my favorite animal.

The Providence Friars (10-4, 2-0) are looking to stay undefeated in BIG EAST play as they travel to Ohio to play the Cincinnati Bearcats (10-4, 0-1) for only their 2nd true road game of the season.

The Friars’ senior class have played some tight games against the Bearcats over the last three years (coincidentally, the first being Cincinnati’s first season in the BIG EAST).  Providence owns a 2-1 advantage, including an overtime win at Cincinnati last year.  All three games have been decided by two points or less, so expect more of the same tonight.

INFO

Time: 7PM at the Fifth Third Arena

TV: ESPNU

Online: ESPN360.com, and hopefully on Justin.tv :)

Free Online Radio: None

Friars.com Gametracker

StatSheet.com Pregame

PREDICTIONS AND GAMBLING

Spread: Providence +3

Ken Pomeroy: Cincy, 72-66 (29%)

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PREVIEWS ON THE WEB

Friars.com Game notes

Cincinnati enters the game with a 10-4 record.  In their most recent game, the Bearcats were defeated at Marquette, 84-50, on January
4. The team is led by junior guard Deonta Vaughn. The 6-1 forward is averaging 14.1 points per game. Freshman forward Yancy Gates leads the team in rebounding (6.2 rpg) and is second on the squad in scoring (10.4 ppg).

GoBearCats.com

Cincinnati enters the game with an 8-1 home record, while Providence is 1-3 on the road/neutral, with its lone win coming vs. Charlotte.

The Bearcats are 2-1 in BIG EAST home openers, including a  74-66 win over Syracuse last season.

Under Mick Cronin, UC is 1-1 in BIG EAST home openers.

Projo.com Capsule Preview

The Bearcats are hoping to grab their first Big East victory of the season and snap a two-game losing streak. Lost at Memphis and Marquette in previous two games. Marquette won, 84-50, thanks to 15 threes. The 34-point margin of defeat was the second-largest of coach Mick Cronin’s three years at UC. Only last year’s 96-51 loss at Connecticut was greater…Cincy shot 32.7 percent and made just 3-of-19 tries from 3-point land…Leading scorer Vaughn was held scoreless, missing all eight of his shots…Began season 10-2 with only losses to Florida State and Xavier. Best win came at UNLV…Bearcats are excellent rebounding team with Gates and Williams providing strong inside play…In the last two games, the Bearcats have shot 29.7 percent from the floor (30-for-101) and 17.1 percent from 3-point range (6-for-35).

Projo.com – “Friars claim no expectations means no pressure”

The game is PC’s first Big East road test. A second comes Saturday at Georgetown. Winning on the road is what separates the average teams from the good ones in college basketball and the Friars know what these trips feel like.

Cincinnati.com – “UC must rebound from back-to-back shellackings”

Cronin is as anxious as anyone to find out how his players will respond to what he calls its first real adversity in the form of back-to-back losses at Memphis and Marquette in which the Bearcats averaged 47.5 points and shot 29.7 from the floor and 17.1 percent from 3-point range.

He’s confident they’ll answer with a strong effort, much like they did last year when they were blown out at Connecticut by 45 then came back to give Pittsburgh a tough game in a six-point loss in the first round of the Big East Tournament.

BY THE NUMBERS

WHEN PC HAS THE BALL – THE FOUR FACTORS

Providence Offense vs. Cincinnati Defense

national rankings in ()

50.3 eFG% (135) vs. 43.0 eFG% allowed

103.7 Adjusted Offensive Efficiency (121) vs 93.4 Adjusted Defensive Efficiency

19.5% Turnover % (97) vs. 20.7% Turnover % forced

39.3% Offensive Rebounding % (31) vs 33.7% Off Reb. % against

35.8 FT Rate (175) vs. 28.3 FT Rate against

WHEN CINCY HAS THE BALL – THE FOUR FACTORS

Cincinnati Offense vs. Providence Defense

national rankings in ()

48.9 eFG% (180) vs. 47.8 eFG% allowed

103.6 Adjusted Offensive Efficiency (118) vs 95.4 Adjusted Defensive Efficiency

23.4% Turnover % (281) vs. 22.6% Turnover % forced

45% Offensive Rebounding % (1) vs 32.3% Off Reb. % against

23 FT Rate (213) vs. 29.8 FT Rate against

Stats by StatSheet.com

KEY POINTS

- Cincinnati is one of the best rebounding teams in the country, as evident by their #1 ranked offensive rebounding %.  Coach Keno Davis says he doesn’t expect to beat them on the boards, but just wants to keep it close.   Their top two offensive rebounders?  Freshman Yancy Gates (3.1 ORPG) and Junior Mike Williams (2.4 ORPG) — the same numbers as the leading offensive rebounders on the Friars (Geoff McDermott and Jonathan Kale, respectively).  However, as a team, Cincy averages 16.2 offensive rebounds per game (9th in the nation).

- Cincinnati has had some trouble holding onto the ball so far, averaging almost 16 turnovers per game at a 23.4% turnover clip.  The Friars have been pretty decent at forcing them (22.4%, 99th in the nation), so we’ll see if they can turn those eventual miscues into points.

- As pointed out by Kevin McNamara, Providence’s box-and-1 versus DePaul’s Dar Tucker was extremely effective.  Keno might pull this out again on Deonta Vaughn (14.1 PPG), since Yancy Gates is the only other Bearcat who is averaging in double-digit scoring (10.4 PPG).  Is that what Marquette did?  I didn’t watch the game, but Vaughn was held scoreless.  Yikes.

- In Cincy’s only BIG EAST game this year (an 84-50 drubbing by Marquette), they shot 3-19 from beyond the arc (15.%).  Overall this season they are at 32.9% (ranked #221 in the nation).  How have the Friars’ last opponents shot from three-point land? DePaul – 15%, St. John’s – 11%, Bryant – 21%, BC – 17%, URI – 20%.

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