Welcome back to another edition of Bulls Recon! Today, Matt Opper from our Cincinnati blog Down The Drive is here to talk some Bearcats basketball. In this edition, we talk the duo of Dion Dixon and Sean Kilpatrick, the legacy of Yancy Gates, and of course Big East expansion.
1. Great win Thursday night against the Cardinals. What were you able to capitalize on to pull off the upset?
Two things that are really one thing. The Bearcats simply won the three point line. Shooting 40 per cent from three and limiting the Cardinals to just 7 per cent shooting from from deep. That is the biggest reason the Bearcats won against Louisville. It's easy to pick narratives out of the crowd post game. In retrospect the three point shooting was the difference in a game where both teams shot less than 35 per cent from the field.
2. Dion Dixon and Sean Kilpatrick are each having great seasons on the wing. What makes the duo so effective.
They play off each other very well. Dion Dixon is a classic irrational confidence guy that every good Basketball team seems to have. Watching UC it would seem that Dixon is a pretty good shooter considering how often and how frequently he launches but his shooting percentages are way down, 37 per cent from the field, 28 per cent from three. Kilpatrick plays well off Dixon because he is that classic spot up shooter. He has killed teams all year long with his three point shooting. The thing that makes them both very good is that they both know what the team needs and more importantly when they need it. For Dixon its often getting to the line. Kilpatrick doesn't go off the dribble often, but he picks his spots
3. Let's talk a little Bracketology. How are you feeling about your chances to grab an at-large right now? How many more wins will it take for Coach Cronin to feel safe on Selection Sunday?
One more win does it I think. Two wins and Bearcat fans can start talking about seeding. The sooner the better obviously, but there is more margin for error than there was two weeks ago. The Bearcats now have 3 and a half games that most teams on the bubble can't touch. vs Notre Dame, @ Georgetown, vs Louisville and @ UConn the last one may or may not be a good one come Selection Sunday.
4. Yancy Gates certainly has had an up and down career in the Queen City, but seems to be doing well post-brawl. When its all said and done, how will people remember him 10 years from now?
As a mixed bag. He has had his moments. He played really big in some important occasions. But ultimately he never played to his potential in the Red and Black. That's not really his fault because the expectations for him were soooo high coming out of Withrow High School. He was supposed to be the next Danny Fortson and because he is from here he heard and absorbed all of it. He knew how high the bar was, and in his heart of hearts he would cop to being a victim of unrealized expectations.
5. If there is one weakness on this team, it is...
I'll give you two. On offense it is the over reliance on jumpers. When the jumpers fall this team can go on breath taking runs but when they dry up, as they always do, even for Kila it's hard for this team to get points let alone buckets. The only guys who get to the line with any frequency Gates, and Justin Jackson, two guys no one wants to see there. The lone exception to that is Dion Dixon who has attempted nearly 60 (!) more free throws than anyone else
On defense it's dribble penetration. Among the starters only JaQuon Parker is a good on ball defender but he is often forced to do battle with forwards in the post. And the problem is with Cashmere Wright who's knee issues have robbed him of most of his lateral quickness over the course of his career. He just has a hard time staying in front of uber quick guards. And there is no Rashad Bishop this year to put out fires on the defensive end.
6. What are your thoughts on the new Big East? Are you houlding out hope that the Big XII will make you team #12?
I am fine with the new Big East. Not elated, but under the circumstances Marinatto cobbled together a conference of the best remaining pieces on the board. And yes I do hold out hope for a lifeline from the Big 12. But it is not a particularly robust hope
7. Finally, how do you see this one going? First to 55 wins?
I think it will take more than 55. I think it takes 60. I think UC pulls it out hitting that 60 point total. ultimately I think that Sean Kilpatrick is primed for a good game and he will lead the Cats to the win.
Thanks again to Matt for helping us out today. Make sure to visit DtD for my answers to his questions.