Loyal readers, do you want the good news or the bad news first? Bad news? Cincinnati sports fans always choose the bad news first – have it your way.
First – The Bad News.
On Sunday the Bearcats traveled to Greenville, North Carolina to play a road conference game against one of the worst teams in the American Athletic Conference. And they lost.
Following the loss, the Bearcats were ridiculed by a couple members of the national media, including Doug Gottlieb.
In addition, Twitter was ablaze with sadness, disappointment, and despair from the Bearcat Nation.
Clearly everyone expected UC to prevail in Greenville. They should have won. They led the entire game, save for the last part – when it really mattered.
Now, there are a lot of explanations for why they lost. First, Troy Caupain did not start the game, and did not play enough of the game. I have heard no explanation as to why that was the case. I’m hoping to gather some explanation for this soon. Did he violate team rules? Was there a bad attitude displayed? Who knows? But coming off the bench Caupain struggled to impose his will upon the game as he had against UConn just a few nights earlier.
Second, Farad Cobb didn’t get enough touches. After lighting it up early, Cobb found himself getting a long breather on the bench. For some reason on Sunday Davis tinkered with the line-up a little too much at the wrong times. Just when it seemed that one line-up would get into rhythm, Davis would rest guys to introduce a new dynamic into the game. It just didn’t work. Cobb was hitting from deep, got pulled, and struggled to get back into the rhythm of the game.
Third, the whole team, excluding Ellis and Clark, seemed lethargic. Ellis played a monster game with 14 points and 14 rebounds. Clark, too, had a lot of hustle plays and really competed. There just weren’t many sparks outside of their efforts.
Fourth, the end of the game strategy was a cluster-you-know-what. Everyone stood around the perimeter. There was no motion to the offense. And UC just started shooting long distant threes when they were only down two points. UC is not a team that lives and dies by the three ball, so I’m not sure why the ball wasn’t worked inside to Ellis or Clark.
Okay, so they gave up a sure win to a team that may not make the NIT. Now what?
Next – The Good News.
UC is not out of tournament contention merely because they gave up one loss on the road. Trap games are a part of life, and the selection committee knows that. You won’t find many teams without one or two black marks on their resume.
Jerry Palm has downgraded UC to a 9 seed, but he (and most others) still have them comfortably in the tournament. There’s a lot of basketball yet to be played, and Thursday night against SMU they can prove that they’re worthy of a good seed in March. But I have a lot of unanswered questions about this team before Thursday.
Will Troy make it out of Coach Davis’ doghouse? Will Cobb get more playing time? Why were we chucking 3s at the end of the game when our bigs are as good as any front line in the country? Time will tell.
By Brian Fox