At some point, somebody has to make a shot.
The Bearcats were 7-for-30 from 3-point range against Villanova and I'm sure a common complaint after the game was that they shot too many threes. Especially since the Bearcats are only making 29% of their shots from outside the arc this year to rank 325th out of 347 Division I teams.
In this case I respectfully disagree.
There have certainly been games this year where the Bearcats offense was too stagnant, resulting in forced 3-pointers with the shot clock winding down. That was rarely the case on Tuesday night. Villanova doubled-teamed UC's big guys when they caught the ball in the paint and dared the 'Cats to make jump shots. As far as coaching strategy is concerned, that would qualify as a "Duh."
It would be great if the Bearcats shot layups on every possession, but if the opposing defense doesn't have to respect the threat of an outside shot, it's difficult to get the ball close to the basket. With the size and athleticism that
And that's a big challenge moving forward.
UC has a strong nucleus of returning talent led by Rashad Bishop, Yancy Gates, Ibrahima Thomas, Lance Stephenson, Cashmere Wright, and Jaquon Parker. But who is going to make outside shots?
Larry Davis and Dion Dixon are shooting a combined 32-for-130 (25%) from outside the arc. That number drops to 20% in Big East play. Sean Kilpatrick - who is redshirting this year - is more of a penetrator than a jump shooter. Every perimeter player on the team needs to put in serious time this summer trying to become the best shooter he can possibly be.
If there are shooters available in the late signing period, I suspect that Mick Cronin will be holding a "Help Wanted" sign. Having recruited the likes of Steve Logan, Francisco Garcia, and Taquon Dean in the past, Mick knows the value of having a consistent outside threat.
Mick has rebuilt the program from ruined to respectable.
Unfortunately, it's been "one brick at a time" in more ways than one.
* * * * *
March 2nd is National Sportsmanship Day. To recognize it, the Big East is holding an online vote to choose the best act of sportsmanship in the Conference this year.
One of the three choices involves a Bearcat:
Nomination #2: Big East Most Outstanding Swimmer Josh Schneider Greeted With Unusual Welcome.
You can vote for Josh here.
* * * * *
I'd love to hear from you. The address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you Twitter, you can follow my tweets at http://twitter.com/Dan_Hoard