The last time the Providence Friars won a BIG EAST road game, Sharaud Curry and Greedy Peterson were doing their anti-defense thing, and Marshon Brooks put up 17 points against a woeful DePaul team that won 1 BIG EAST game that year. Even Johnnie Lacy saw 17 minutes of action! I wonder what that dude is doing these days. Pumping gas? Anyways, if PC is going to crack their 2 year plus dry spell of conference road contests, they are going to have to overcome a lot tonight. While Providence has played good enough to win over the last several games, fatigue and poor play down the stretch have plagued the team. At some point, these things begin to get mental and become more than just tired legs. Throw in the fact that Cincinnati is in “must win” mode these days in fighting for an NCAA Tournament birth, the Friars are going to need some special nights from their overworked top players to pull off a win.
WHAT TO: KNOW
Game Time: 9:00PM EST
Opponent: Cincinnati (17-8, 7-5)
Location: Fifth Third Arena
Spread: Cincinnati -11
ESPN Accuscore: Cincinnati 74.1, Providence 63.6 (Cincinnati wins in 80.3% of over 10,000 sims)
CBSSports Daily Picks: Cincinnati 79, Providence 70
WHAT TO: VOTE FOR
Hit up the rest of the preview after the jump.
WHAT TO: LOOK FOR
Ice Cotton, meet your match: In conference play only: Ice Cotton 3pt FG – 37-94 (39.4%); Sean Kilpatrick 3pt FG – 33-84 (39.3%). Oh it’s on! It’s a three point shoot out! Even though no one has taken more threes in BIG EAST play than Cotton, Kilpatrick has the most attempts in all games amongst BIG EAST players and hits them at a 40% clip. Remember that Noriega guy from USF? Yeah, the Friars are going to have to do the opposite of what they did against him.
Speaking of threes..: The Bearcats are 5-5 over their last 10 games. In those losses, the team has put up a ton of threes at about a 30% clip. Since the brutal stretch where Marquette, Pitt, and USF went a combined 26-44 (59%) from downtown, the Friars have clamped down a little (well, aside from Noriega’s two minutes). If PC is going to have any chance at an upset here, they need to force the Bearcats into a cold shooting night from behind the arc.
Is that Cashmere?: Junior Cashmere Wright is an esteemed member of the “Random Guy Who Had a Career Night Against Keno Davis’ Defense” All-Stars. As a freshman who ended up averaging 5.4 points per game, Wright torched the Friars for 24 points in a Bearcats win. His 2nd highest total that year? 14 points. Yep, that’s sounds about right. As a junior, Wright is now averaging 10 a game and has had some big scoring nights this season. He even managed to top his career high by scoring 25 points against those pesky Radford Highlanders back in December. You can rest now, Keno.
Yancy Cleans up the Glass: He may not be able to completely chew up the Friars interior defense like JayVaughn Pinkston did, but Gates will create some problems on the offensive glass and get his points on 2nd chances. Gates is 5th in the conference in offensive rebounds per game (3.3), and 15th in offensive rebounding percentage (11.3%).
Careful Bearcats?: The Friars are generally pretty poor at forcing turnovers, but they could have an even tougher time against Cincinnati if they get back to their great mid season form. The Bearcats have a great 16.6% turnover percentage, good for 15th in the nation. However, it’s been a bit of a problem over the last several games (14 against Marquette, 16 against St. John’s) so it’s something to keep an eye on.
WHAT TO: READ
Friars.com: Gamenotes [PDF]
Scouting The Bearcats: Cincinnati has posted a 17-8 mark, including a 7-5 mark in BIG EAST play. In its most recent game, the Bearcats were defeated at Mar- quette, 95-78, on February 12. The Bearcats are led in scoring by sophomore forward Sean Kilpatrick (15.0 ppg). Senior guard Dion Dixon ranks second on the team in scoring (13.6 ppg). Senior forward Yancy Gates leads the squad in rebounding (9.3 rpg) and is third on the squad in scoring (12.6 ppg).
GoBearCats.com: Cincinnati Returns Home to Play Providence
Providence leads 4-3 in the all-time series with Cincinnati. The Bearcats have won the last two meetings, including a 93-81 overtime win at Providence last season on Feb. 19.
GoBearCats.com: How Mick Uses His Movie Memory To Make Points
Mick makes frequent use of his movie memory. For example, when asked at a recent news conference about fighting through the Big East grind, Coach Cronin quoted the end of Rambo: First Blood Part II when Colonel Trautman (Richard Crenna) tries to comfort John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) before Stallone’s character walks off into the distance as the credits roll.
Can the ugly brawl between Xavier and Cincinnati kill a hoops tradition six decades in the making?
6. Cincinnati: The Bearcats’ defense went AWOL against Marquette and so did a big lead. Cincinnati needs to start locking down if it’s going to assure itself an NCAA bid and keep its league record above .500.
UC Athletics Blog: UC’s NCAA chances in serious jeopardy
As of Monday, ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi still had the Bearcats clinging to a No. 12 seed as one of the last four in, but he has them as one of the No. 12 seeds that would have to play in the first round just to get into the field of 64. And even that’s iffy.
“They have some great wins,” Lunardi said. “They’re 7-5 in the Big East. Not many teams that are over .500 in a major conference with real wins get left out. But they have to hold it. They have to stay at least where they are in the league.”
Cincinnati.com: UC’s NCAA tourney chances on brink
The News Record: Bearcats look for redemption against Friars
Seniors Yancy Gates and Dion Dixon — both of which have played integral roles in helping head coach Mick Cronin to revitalize UC basketball since he inherited the program six years ago — know all too well that their careers could have as few as seven games remaining.
“This is it right here,” Dixon said. “Do or die right now. Our back is against the wall. We let a lot of games slip away from us that we know we could have won. We don’t know what it is; we can’t let it keep happening with our careers going down.”
Record: 17-8 overall, 7-5 in league
RPI through Sunday: 92nd
Top-50 and Top-100 wins: Three, six
“Bad” losses: Three Buzz: The Bearcats have lost four of their past six outings, and the wins were over DePaul and St. John’s – hardly the kind of victories that will gain notice from the selection committee. The Bearcats now play three in a row at home, with two of those games (Seton Hall on Saturday and Louisville on Feb. 23) against the kind of opponent that can boost an at-large candidacy. There’s also a home game Feb. 29 against Marquette. Cincy made the NCAA tourney last season, which snapped a five-year streak with no bid.
Fox Sports Ohio: Cronin: Bearcats “weren’t ready to play”
Cincinnati turned in one of its worst defensive efforts of the season in Saturday’s 95-78 loss at Marquette. After taking a 12-point lead in the game’s first four minutes, UC fell apart. Head coach Mick Cronin said following the game he was surprised by his team’s response considering the fact that UC won at Marquette last season.
“I don’t know what they’ve been watching all season,” Cronin said. “I don’t know what they’ve been doing for the last 48 hours as we’ve been preparing for them. But like I said, we weren’t ready to play. We weren’t ready for what was going to happen.”
Down the Drive: Bearcats Turnover Margin Has Turned Negative: Can It Be Fixed?
Defensively UC needs to go back to the pressure game. They did it against Marquette but Junior Cadougan is the natural selection against the Bearcats press because he just bulls Cash with his size and strength and completely negates his quickness advantage in doing so. Plus they had DJO and Crowder who are just terrible match ups for UC.in any situation but especially in transition. Most of the teams coming up on the docket don’t have those kind of match up advantages. The Bearcats need to start blitzing screens and trapping in the corners again. That was the key to the outstanding turnover margin in the first part of the Big East slate.
Down the Drive: Previewing The Providence Friars
The main guy to watch is Vincent Council who is averaging 16-4-7 every game. His 7.4 assists per game is tops in conference. He also leads the conference in turnovers so he is the epitome of a trick or treat point guard. I am pretty sure that he and Cashmere Wright are best friends because of this. The thing to watch with Council is that he is the best three point shooter. He makes 40 percent from deep.
Cincinnati is 11-27 against the spread in their last 38 home games, 1-4 against the spread in their last five Big East games, and 1-4 against the spread in their last five home games against a team with a losing road record. Providence is 4-1 against the spread in their last five games overall, 7-16 against the spread following a loss, and 3-8 against the spread in their last 11 road games against a team with a winning home record. The road team has covered in six of the last seven meetings of these two.
WHAT TO: WATCH
2/9 Friars All Access- Bob Driscoll on Ed Cooley
Cincinnati and Xavier Brawl
UC players apologize following brawl
Documentary Scene 5 Not Left Handed It’s Bckwrd!
Marquette Conquers Cincinnati, 95-78, on National Marquette Day
Sean Kilpatrick Highlights
Cincinnati beat Oklahoma thanks to a wild final 60sec and a great play by Cashmere Wright.
WHERE TO: FOLLOW
Twitter.com: I’ll probably be live tweeting the game @friarblog. Also be sure to follow the #pcbb hashtag as always.
WHERE TO: WATCH
FriarTV: PC vs. West Virginia
WHERE TO: LISTEN