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Deadly Shooting

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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."

 

Most of Cincinnati's treys were wide open.  Larry Davis - who was recruited as a Field Williams-type shooter - went 0-for-5.  Cashmere Wright - who opened Big East play by making 7 of his first 8 treys - went 0-for-3.  If they go 2-for-8 (instead of 0-for-8), UC probably wins the game.

 

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 Cincinnati faces in the Big East, it's tough to finish in the upper echelon with a lousy shooting team.

 

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.

 

Cincinnati is not far from turning the corner.  That's one of the reasons why this season has been so frustrating.  What would UC's record be if the 'Cats were just an average shooting team? 

 

Mick has rebuilt the program from ruined to respectable. 

 

Unfortunately, it's been "one brick at a time" in more ways than one.

 

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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.

 

Cincinnati's Josh Schneider was awarded with the 2010 Big East Most Outstanding Swimmer by the league's coaches, and was greeted with a special entrance en route to receiving his award.  By virtue of his team's deck position, Josh had to walk past several other teams before making it to the podium.  In an impromptu gesture of respect, the other teams put their arms in the air to create a dramatic entrance similar to what you would see at a wedding when the bride and groom are announced.

 

You can vote for Josh here.

 

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I'd love to hear from you.  The address is dhoard@pawsox.com.

 

And if you Twitter, you can follow my tweets at http://twitter.com/Dan_Hoard

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