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Bearcats Breakfast 1.19.12

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Where do you start after a win like that?

You could talk about Sean Kilpatrick and the cold-blooded nature of his 3-pointer in the face of two UConn defenders.

You could talk about Mick Cronin deciding to let Kilpatrick play it out and stealing any possible advantage away from Jim Calhoun in the final seconds.

You could talk about this team's remarkable ability to win on the road -- now with seven in a row on the road in the Big East. That includes three in a row against ranked teams.

You could talk about five players in double figures as this offense continues to find ways to score consistently -- now averaging 71.4 points per game in Big East play if you take away the St. John's debacle.

You could talk about the incredible journey this team is on from Crosstown Shootout to now, building to a midseason crescendo Monday against Syracuse.

You could talk about the national respect this team deserves but hasn't received while winning 10 of 11 while other teams fall to rubble and keep receiving ranking recognition.

You could talk about how that lack of national respect clearly fuels this bunch every step of the way and has since the middle of last season.

You could talk about how high the ceiling is for a team to steal a win by going into a sold-out arena when the defending national champs haven't lost in 10 tries this season.

You should talk about all those things. And most who read this blog regularly know I'll probably touch on all of them again.

For me, I don't just want to talk about the 70-67 win against No. 11 UConn, rather how UC did it.

In many ways, they did it by beating Connecticut at their own game.

UConn was supposed to be the big, bad giant. Emphasis on big. With height advantages at every position -- and not small advantages, we are talking nearly half-foot differentials in some spots -- the Bearcats shut down the inside game of the Huskies.

They made UConn play guards vs. guards. The Cats will play that game with any team in the country. And win most of the time.

With Yancy Gates and 6-foot-4 JaQuon Parker manning the interior for half the game against 6-11 Andre Drummond and 6-9 Alex Oriakhi, the Huskies managed only six points and 12 rebounds between the both of them.

In fact, here are the combined point totals of the UConn bigs, who hovered over UC like skyscrapers:

Drummond, Oriakhi, Roscoe Smith, DeAndre Daniels and Tyler Olander: 86 minutes, 14 points, 19 rebounds.

Gates: 36 minutes, 13 points, 12 rebounds.

By himself, Gates nearly matched the production of all five UConn big men.

This was supposed to be speed vs. quickness and Cronin played it as such. For the majority of the game, it was a four-guard lineup as Justin Jackson found foul trouble and Parker hit shots from the outside.

Yet, where the Beatcats were supposed to be outmanned and overwhelmed on the inside against the Big East's tallest teams, not only were they not outmanned or overwhelmed, they were effective.

"We have enough good players that we shouldn't have lost this game," Jim Calhoun said. "I thought we would have a great advantage inside.  It didn't look like that worked out very well because we were jumping and throwing one-foot passes inside...We just did not get anything inside done.   But it's no shame to lose to Cincinnati. They can play the post with Gates and they can spread you out. They're hard to play."


Sure, the Bearcats were outrebounded 41-32. Take into account, UConn grabbed 45 percent of the possible offensive rebounds. That number sits right at their season average of 44 percent.

On the flip side, UC grabbed 36 percent of their own on the offensive glass. At the end of the day, giving up that much height, the Bearcats came out big winners in that stat.

Combine that effort with the continued locomotion of the Turnover Margin Express where the Cats turned it over but six times to UConn's 11 and there you have the difference.

UC hoisted 62 shots and UConn only 59. Both teams shoot between 42 and 44 percent from the floor. Bearcats win.

Shooting well from 3-point range kept UC in the game, but their ability to contain UConn's crazy size advantage finished the job. With a little help from Kilpatrick.

You could start many places today, but after a win like that you can't help but begin to think where this team could finish.

Let's eat...

 --- Apparently the national media was finally paying attention last night. Links galore. And in case you didn't see it or hear it. Follow this link for Dan Hoard's call of SK's 3-pointer and here's video highlights from SportsCenter.

--- Andy Katz talks about UC
clicking on all cylinders, praises Cronin and also posted an interview with Kilpatrick.

--- Matt Norlander at CBSSports.com says UC clearly owns the rights to the title of second-best Big East team right now.

--- NBC Sports points out that in
post-brawl world, UC is a contender.

--- Rick Bozich praises Cronin.

--- Dan Hoard on Kemba Walker watching his fellow NY guy SK take down his Huskies.

--- Last team to win seven consecutive Big East road games was Pittsburgh when combining the end of the 2010 season with beginning of 2011 season.

--- Here's a photo gallery from the game. But none is better than this one.

--- Bill Koch's Enquirer game story with quotes from SK and Cronin.

--- More game reaction from the UConn perspective from the Hartford Courant. Napier said he gave SK a nudge in the leg and Jeremy Lamb touched his fingers on the final shot. No matter.

--- Since Raf is coming here on Monday and in honor of what Kilpatrick pulled off in the final seconds last night, a little Best of Raf Onions! montage seems in order.



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