Bearcats Breakfast 1.17.12

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More good stuff from Mick Cronin and Cashmere Wright at yesterday's media availability. They touched on myriad of topics, including some on the value of the basketball and crazy turnover stats coming out of this team. I documented those yesterday if you want to play catch up.

Mick and Cash also jumped head first into the memories of watching UConn go on to win the national title after beating UC in the second round.

Coach talked multiple times before how he felt he was going to vomit when he realized he was facing a possible second-round matchup with UConn. He's always said he thought his team could have made a run had the bracket fallen differently. He went into a little bit more detail Monday. Bill Koch documented in a blog post yesterday.

The quote from Cash brought a chuckle.

"I guess you would always want the team you lost to to win it, make you feel better," he said. "But I still didn't like it."

Let's eat...

--- This matchup in beautiful, majestic Storrs, Conn., will be all about contrasting styles. UConn's height vs. UC's quickness.

Many of the Bearcats conference games will play out under this concept, but none more obvious than Wednesday. That was accentuated even more with guard Ryan Boatright likely out while an ineligibility investigation takes place.

"If he is still out, it hurts their ball-handling but it helps their size," Cronin said. "It forces them to play 6-7 and taller at four positions. What Notre Dame found out was that's not always good for you if you have to play taller. It's hard to find an open shot that's not a 22-footer."

Take a look at what the height differential will be if Cronin decides to fight height with speed and play four guards.

1 Cashmere Wright 6-0 vs Shabazz Napier 6-0
2 Dion Dixon 6-3 vs Jeremy Lamb 6-5
3 Sean Kilpatrick 6-4 vs Roscoe Smith 6-8
4 JaQuon Parker 6-4 vs Alex Oriakhi 6-9
5 Yancy Gates 6-9  vs Andre Drummond 6-11

That's a total height differential of 13 inches. The Huskies already are second in the league in block percentage (16.4%) and first in the league in effective FG% defense because they allow so few uncontested, unaltered shots around the rim.

Their presence will always play in the back of Wright's mind. He's had enough problems finishing lately, anyway.

"You realize in the Big East you aren't getting a lot of calls when you go in there," he said. "You better stop and shoot and actually make the shot. You never know from game to game how the different ref is going to ref. Some games they will be tight and some games they'll let you go out there and just play."

Not only is shooting among the trees on the inside more difficult, but shooting over long arms on the perimeter, especially when SK and Parker are giving up four inches, makes for a long night from deep.

The last two games in particular, UConn has put the clamps down defensively.

Opponent      FG%  3P%
WVU           32.3    25.0
Notre Dame  32.3    23.1

Both WVU and Notre Dame were 21 of 65 from the field. Three of the last four halves, UConn held their opponent under 30 points.

Only one way exists to flip that defensive differential and it's with steals and turnovers.

"Go try to win at UConn and play halfcourt basketball for 40 minutes," Cronin said. "Ask Notre Dame. Because they only had 53. You got to get easy baskets. For us, last two games, 20 points a game in transition off turnovers. It is big."

UC will have to get 17 turnovers -- more precisely -- at least 20 points off those in order to take down the Huskies.

--- If you don't know about Andre Drummond, who most tab as a Top 5 pick, you should read this. And watch this.

--- Liked this quote from Mick talking about the key to his team not turning the ball over:

"Biggest thing I can tell anybody that is coaching, anybody is playing," he said. "We say it every day. All you got to do is watch a turnover. Nine out of 10 times it's guys trying to do too much. If you just keep it simple we have enough talent. That's our motto on offense. Everybody don't try to make a tough shot, don't try to make a great play. Just give the ball to the next guy. We don't need that. We don't need any heroes. Be a team."

--- Cash said he was leading the battle for most deflections over the team with Dion and Yancy on his heels. This board has really become the symbol of the team's success. This is no joke when they talk about how much emphasis the players place on it.

"We just feel like they put the deflection board on the locker room," Wright said. "Everybody swinging trying to battle for deflections every chance they get."

What does the winner get for owning the most deflections?

"You talk trash to teammates," he said. "That's all that counts in the locker room."

--- Ge'Lawn Guyn didn't practice
Monday. Cronin pointed out that doesn't necessarily mean he won't play Wednesday.

"He's day to day," Cronin said.

--- Dana O'Neil says it best when discussing the Bearcats at the sixth spot in her Big East power rankings.

"6. Cincinnati: Just how good are the Bearcats? We'll know by the middle of next week. This is Cincinnati's gauntlet: at Connecticut, at West Virginia and then home against Syracuse. One win would be good, two huge and three a reason for serious joy in the streets."

--- Randomness...

--- Community board game. You're whole brain is crying.

--- Kendrick Perkins received a reception on his return to Boston that Scott Rolen would have loved.

--- If we see a final 30 seconds with half this stuff, I'll consider it the best ending I've seen. White team is down two w/ 30 seconds left when the video begins.

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