Bearcats Breakfast 1.10.12

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Great time last night at the UC-GT Watch Party at Martino's on Vine. Rob and Troy from Ballin' is a Habit were great to hang out with and I realized, since Troy is a Georgetown guy, for the first time in my life I could talk trash about my Ohio U. athletics.

He was a good sport, though, so no need to rub anything in. Others took a different route.

Regardless, good times and thanks to all those who showed up to watch UC's biggest win of the season.

Plenty to get to there, so let's eat...

--- In case you missed it, here are the highlights.

--- This was the sixth consecutive
Big East road win for the Bearcats. Looking back to last year and this year, Pitt was the only team to accomplish that feat. They opened last year's conference season with six consecutive conference road wins then lost at St. John's going for No. 7.

Whether the road streak comes by virtue of playing better with their backs against the wall as Mick Cronin suggested Saturday or they thrive without the pressure of the home court, who knows. These road wins against ranked teams earn major points with selection committee. Last night's game is one that will continually come up when weighing the Bearcats resume.

"Great effort by my kids, proud of them, great win for us," Cronin said. "You know, we've had some wins over Georgetown, we've been fortunate here lately but this is the best team ... we had and the best Georgetown team we've been able to get a win over."

--- Dan Hoard wrote about a big effort from big man Yancy Gates. Great read and perspective.

He returned to the starting lineup and showed what he can bring to the four-guard setup. His presence and effort defensively are the types of characteristics UC fans have been begging for since he arrived. Gates managed 10 deflections. He's been giving that effort consistently since his return from suspensions.

--- UC finished with 34 deflections
overall. "Against Georgetown," Cronin said, "that's a monster number."

--- In this space yesterday, I said the key stat would be for UC to force 17 turnovers. If so, they would win. They forced 17 turnovers exactly, the final coming on the Hoyas last possession in which they failed to tie the game.

Say whatever you will about the inconsistency on offense, this team can play some defense and rattle just about any team in the country with it.

--- I will be writing about this later in the week, but another observation mentioned in Sunday's Morning After was Sean Kilpatrick's propensity to take 3-pointers vs. drive to the bucket. The lack of contact created took away a major part of his game. The same lack of contact was true for the entire team. UC ranked in the bottom 10 percent in the country in FT rate.

They clearly made a conscious decision last night to flip that stat. The 3-point attempts dropped from 32 to 13. The free throws rose from 12 attemps against St. John's to 22 against GT.

Not only was 13 the lowest number of 3-pointers shot since the offense changed, it's not even close. And since the schedule amped up, this was a high for free throw attempts as well (obviously, some assistance to GT needing to foul in the final minute)

Opponent    3s        FTs

Wright St.   14-32   8-18
Radford       10-21   15-20
Ark-PB        15-28   18-29
Chicago St.  16-35   7-9
Oklahoma    7-30    15-20
Pitt              11-27   3-6
ND              8-27    13-18
St. John's    7-32     8-12
GTown         4-13    18-22

--- It's no coincidence their top two scoring games against high-major competition were ND and GT. Attack the basket to draw contact more often and good things happen. We'll see if that same shift continues, but scaling back the 3-pointers and boosting up the free throws provides a recipe for more consistent offense.

--- Rob Dauster talking about UC's big win at NBC Sports.

--- Congratulations to coach Cronin
for win No. 100 at UC last night. There were a lot of people who would have bet he never saw that number and that's no slight on his coaching abilities.

--- Bill Koch's game summary
includes Dion Dixon calling Saturday his worst game at UC. Monday was one of his best. Need to see that aggression to the bucket much more often. He fell into the same 3-point concern as Kilpatrick, both can penetrate and finish so well, but rely too heavily on the jumper at times.

--- Thirteen total steals last night, including four apiece from Dion and SK. That number is the second highest of the season (Arkansas-Pine Bluff).

UC has won the steal category in each of the last seven games -- all by at least three.

I may have to break out the nickname the football team was riding this year: The Turnover Margin Express.

--- Speaking of football, how about that national championship game last ni......zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

--- UC ended up finishing the season in the Top 25. They were 21 in the Coaches Poll and 25 in the AP.

--- Andrea Adelson posted
her final power rankings with UC second and wondering what might have been.

--- UC will be hosting an exclusive Signing Day dinner if you are interested. Here are the details. The event sold out each of the last two years, so you may want to move on it.

--- Tommy G spoke with
Butch Jones for the first of a two-part season wrap yesterday.

--- Randomness...

--- Mo Egger with a great take on Barry Larkin's HOF nod. Can't agree more.

--- Tim Tebow set a new sports Tweets per second record on Sunday.

--- We were actually talking the unfortunate career plummet of Dan Cortese last night. And the need for a 10-point shot. I miss Rock N' Jock.

--- Death to cursive!

--- Definitely my favorite
sports sign of the year. This is the type of outside-the-box creativity I demand out of all of you.

--- Coachella 2012: Black Keys, Radiohead, Dre and Snoop. Yeah, that might be a good time.

--- With the Coachella announcement, want to post one of my favorite Radiohead songs. Have a good one, everybody.

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