Tag:Cincinnati Bearcats
Posted on: December 25, 2012 8:18 am

Mountain West Christmas week opportunity

So, do you have game or not?  That is the question.  If the Mountain West is any good, then it has the opportunity to prove it on the court this week.  Put up or shut up, right?

Everyone knows that unless you're in the Big 10, the Big East, or the ACC, that you absolutely must play (well) outside your conference to gain any respect.  That is true for the teams out west and doubly true for the teams in the Mountain West conference.  Few fans or those in the college basketball profession know much about any teams in the MWC, and they'd be happy to never learn, but this week provides an unmistakable opportunity for the MWC.

This week presents an undeniable stage for the Mountain West conference to make some kind of a statement, as there are four big games that will feature teams from the MWC.  The trouble is that for many, these games will solidify any generalizations already made.  The decks are most certainly stacked against the MWC in all of these games.  The fact is that all four of these featured games involve a MWC team going into a hostile, and in many cases, storied venue where the home team has a significant advantage.  Such is the face of opportunity.  

This year, the Mountain West conference is one of the nation's top conferences with 7 of 9 teams with only 2 or fewer losses to date.  Most rank the conference in the top 4 this season- some as high as #2- in the country.  There are four teams in the MWC who are either ranked or who are knocking at the door.  (NOTE:  In case you want some proof the MWC is under-respected, when New Mexico lost its first game, it dropped 10 spots this week)  The missing piece is that few fans back East, or those in the national media, get the opportunity to watch these western teams play.  For better or for worse, this week, that will change.

New Mexico @ Cincinnati- The Lobos are coming off their first loss at the Pit to Nate Wolters and South Dakota St.  They will be visiting the Big East's leading team, the Cincinnati Bearcats, who have won all 12 of their games this year- most in dramatic style.

Air Force @ Florida-  8-2 Air Force will travel to meet a very talented Florida team coming off a loss @ Kansas State.   Although Florida has lost two games, many pick them to be a national contender in March.  The Falcons will bring one of the nation's top guards, Michael Lyons to town.

SDSU @ Arizona- Anyone who knows the McKale center in Tucson knows the challenge of winning at Arizona.  This year, undefeated and 4th ranked, Arizona looks like they're back.  SDSU's Jamaal Franklin is one of those rare players who can carry his team to victory, but their work is cut out for them against a loaded Arizona team.

UNLV @ North Carolina-  Last season, it looked as though North Carolina's season was over early when it was beaten in Las Vegas.  This is a revenge game in one of America's toughest places to play at Chapel Hill.  Given UNLV's performance to date, this could be more of a test for North Carolina, who will face perhaps the best frontcourt in the nation when they play the Runnin' Rebels, even withough Mike Moser.  Although many have said that this Tarheel team isn't good, who wants to face them at their home or who wants to draw their name in March?  Yeah, I thought so.
Posted on: December 24, 2012 11:53 am

Cincinnati hosts New Mexico

One of the featured games of Christmas week basketball will be this Thursday, 27 December when the Cincinnati Bearcats host the New Mexico Lobos at 9PM EST.  The game will be televised live on ESPN2.  

The Bearcats haven't lost this season and are now sitting pretty at 12-0.  The Lobos are coming their first loss of the season against South Dakota State and are 12-1.  

Game analysis:

Coming off a rare home loss at the Pit to South Dakota State, and travelling to Cincinnati, advantage should go to the Bearcats who are unbeaten.  New Mexico, however, has played well enough on the road.  New Mexico will want seek to take advantage of its size inside will attempt to get to the freethrow line.  Both teams this season are exceeding expectation.  Cincinnati will attack and try to get the Lobos into a run and gun game.  New Mexico has the ability to shoot from the outside if the Bearcats go to a zone defense. Cincinnati struggles in the half-court offense but excels in the open court.  New Mexico is the opposite.  Cincinnati was unhappy that New Mexico's only date to visit was two days after Christmas which forces the Bearcats to practice on Christmas.  The featured matchup is Cincinnati's Sean Kilpatrick against New Mexico's Kendall Williams.  New Mexico is 3-0 against the spread on the road this season and Cincinnati is 2-3 at home against the spread.  Line will be Cincy with 7-10 point advantage.  


Led by Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati is one of the top rebounding teams in the country averaging over 46 boards a contest.  They are also in the top 20 in scoring and close to the top 25 in total defense allowing only 57.7 points per game.  Their wins against Iowa State, Oregon, Alabama, and Xavier are notable.  THe only team able to hang with the Bearcats this season was Alabama (58-56) needing PG Cashmere Wright to make a buzzer beater to win the game.  

Cincinnati players:

Sean Kilpatrick (G-F):  Averaging over 19PPG and is the Bearcats leading rebounder.
Cashmere Wright:  Averaging 14 PPG including 36% from beyond the arc, 
JaQuon Parker:  12PPG- not a great shooter, but important all-around performer
Cheikh Mbodj:  Gets in foul trouble, but big presence and shoots a good percentage

Jeremiah Davis III
Justin Jackson
David Nyarsuk
Shaquille Thomas
Jermaine Sanders


Statistically not impressive, but at 12-1 with wins over UConn, Ill-Chicago, George Mason and road wins at Indiana St and New Mexico St, they have played above expectation.  Have played a slightly tougher schedule, overall, than Cincinnati.  Good freethrow shooting team.  7 shoot from beyond the arc.  

New Mexico players:

Kendall Willams:  Energetic guard who shoots, can get to the rim and dishes better than most  15PPG, 5APG
Tony Snell:  Big guard who is the team's best shooter but has struggled.  He can handle the ball also
Alex Kirk:  7-foot center who prefers to shoot from beyond freethrow line, 8RPG, 1 BPG, 
Hugh Greenwood:  Australian PG, great ball handler, shoots, excellent rebounder
Cameron Bairstow:  Another Aussie, big presence, shoots high percentage, scrappy

Chad Adams
Demetrius Walker
Jamal Fenton
Nick Banyard

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com