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Bearcats Breakfast 2.17.12

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UC Sports Information Director Doug Mosley properly coined Thursday a three-ring circus at Fifth Third Arena as Mick Cronin and Sean Kilpatrick spoke with the media, followed by Butch Jones and his tweaked defensive staff then the introduction of new volleyball coach Molly Alvey.

More coming on Alvey later today from Chris Gundrum, but I'll start with football.

The essential news was that there is no news -- at least outside of the hiring of OLBs coach Roy Manning.

John Jancek, previously co-defensive coordinator with Tim Banks, who moved on to Illinois, now owns the title of defensive coordinator. As far as there being any difference from last year, outside of owning the final say on the collaborative defensive calls, there's not much.

"He'll be up in the box," Jones said. "You won't see much change or any change."

Kerry Coombs added the title of pass game defensive coordinator and Steve Stripling the title of run game defensive coordinator. Considering Coombs worked with the DBs and Stripling the D-line, that's more of just a title change than responsibility change.

The biggest move is the arrival of Manning to work with the outside linebackers. Manning bounced around five different teams during a three-year NFL career, including some time with the Bengals.

He spent time with UC in 2010, but moved back to help out Brady Hoke last year at Michigan. He's now returned.

Jones said the players' eyes lit up when they learned Manning was back. The respect and credibility that comes from recently being a part of the league they all aspire to play in goes a long way.

For those seeking the succinct Cliff's Notes version of the moves: Jancek owns final say, he'll spend gamedays in the box, little else changes, welcome back Roy Manning. The end.

Let's eat...

--- When discussing UC's rebounding turnaround which occurred over the last three games, Mick Cronin made an interesting point to another symptom of taking the ball to the basket more often. By penetrating the lane and not settling for contested 3-pointers, the Bearcats have helped offset their rebounding/height disadvantage.

Sure, the opponents are partially responsible for the turnaround on the boards, but the decreased reliance on the outside shot owns more of the responsibility.

"We've taken less 3's, we've attacked the basket. we've tried to share the ball more," Cronin said. "It's hard to be a great rebounding team when you shoot jump shots. We've tried to make sure we are taking the best shot we can take.

"By now the guys that are playing at least, understand there are shots that you take where we can't rebound that shot. First/second pass jump shots, you are not going to rebound that shot."


How significant has it been? Everyone who reads this blog knows my disdain for rebounding margin which half the time only means you miss too many shots. Still, UC has gone from not winning rebound margin once in conference play to winning it four of the last five games and being +46 over that span.

To be more specific, check out these rebounding numbers, breaking it into conference games when they shot 25+ 3s and conference games when they they shot less than 20.

Opp  W/L   3-pts   OR%
Pitt   W     11-27   38%
ND    W     8-27    28%
STJ   L      7-32     39%
UConn W  11-26    36%
Syr     L     8-25    38%
-----------------------------------
Opp  W/L   3-pts   OR%
GT     W       4-13   37%
DP     W      3-15    33%
STJ   W       7-16    55%
MU    L        3-13    55%
Prov  W       4-14    53%

--- Over the last three games,
the difference has been dramatic. Say what you will about the quality of the opponent, grabbing more than half your offensive rebounds is doing serious work on the glass.

Take into consideration Pitt leads the nation this year in offensive rebound percentage at 42.8 percent.

--- As for the trend continuing against Seton Hall, that won't be so easy. The Pirates are fourth in the conference in defensive rebounding percentage, only allowing BE opponents to grab 35 percent on the offensive glass.

Compare that to Providence (14th in that category, allowing 38.7 percent), Marquette (11th/36.3%) and St. John's (16th/41.8).

--- The numbers prove
shot selection only provides half the equation. Effort and focus on grabbing offensive boards from players other than Yancy Gates completes the solution.

Clearly, the combination of better shot selection, opponent and increased focus on rebounding from the perimeter players provided the perfect storm on the offensive glass.

"In practice we pinpoint the fact our guards need to rebound a lot more and we need to help Yancy," said Sean Kilpatrick, who pulled down 21 boards the last three games. "He's the catalyst of the rebounding situation. We got to help him in order to win. It's been more of a focus. In the Big East it really don't matter the opponent, if you are outrebounding a Big East opponent by 18 that is a pretty good job."

--- Every game the rest of the way
looms large for the Bearcats, but when you face another bubble team on your home floor, the importance triples. I've talked here all week about the importance of winning the two games this week with essentially four coin flips in front of them.

That being said, the fan base has responded accordingly and only a few public tickets remain. Click here to get in the building.

The Setonian talks about the added importance on this game for the Pirates, as well.

--- Stat to watch Saturday: The Hall from deep. Nobody in the conference gains a higher percentage of their points from behind the 3-point arc.

And lately, they have been blazing from deep.

Take a look at the final three games of their six-game losing streak and the last three consecutive victories.

Opp       W/L  3pts
U of L      L      3-18
@MU       L      5-15
@UConn  L      5-26
TOTAL       13-59 (22%)
--------------------------
Opp       W/L  3pts
@Rut      W      6-17
@Pitt      W    10-23
STJ         W    15-24
TOTAL      31-64 (48%)

--- Cronin broke out some comic relief when discussing how this year's offense is based less on plays and more on players. His confidence in his players to make the right decisions with the ball is much higher than it was in past seasons. That brought on this:

"As much as I love Darnell Wilks, people that sit down low, some of our big donors, would have gotten hurt with the passes he threw. If we would have allowed him to play off the dribble and make passes without making sure he knew where to throw it to, Jim Amann and Larry Sheakley and those guys would have been in big trouble.

"Him and Larry Davis -- the player -- we'd say it every day, don't ever go duck-hunting with those guys."


--- In case you missed Bearcats Sports Weekly with Mick Cronin last night, here you go. Sad to report TG's beard has gone since this. It's the latest reminder that those who truly care about bearding must be dedicated. It is not a business for the fair-weather facial hair fan.

--- On a more serious note,
there's a great interview with AD Whit Babcock that begins at the 14:45 mark.

---  Outside of shaving, Tommy G was ridiculously busy yesterday, you can see the seven different videos he posted yesterday right here.

--- Mike Brey is one of the leading candidates for the National Coach of the Year...again. The guy has proven to be one of the best.

--- This is a day old, but wanted to be sure to link to John Erardi's story on Chane Behanan. The Louisville forward will come back to Cincinnati next week. It will be tough for Cronin to watch the kid who at one point verbally committed to the Bearcats. His story is quite remarkable and a great job by Erardi.

--- UC baseball opens the season today. Here's a look at their prospects from Bearcats Nation.

--- Randomness...

--- Happy to be returning to my alma mater of Moeller for the first time in ages tonight to take in the UC-LaSalle game with LaSalle grad Bill Koch. Bill wrote a book on the Lancers state championship run last which was packed with crazy storylines, especially those of coach Dan Fleming. It's a great read if you have time.

Also, huge thanks to reader Bucky Cooper, who came through in scoring a ticket for me despite the game being sold out since Monday morning.

--- Went to the Mariemont Theater
to catch The Descendants last night. Fantastic flick. The Cloon was phenomenal and deserves all the accolades he's receiving for the performance. Plus, if you haven't been, Mariemont Theater is a great spot to see a movie with a historic feel and fantastic restaurant attached to it.

Highly recommend both.

--- I think it might be time to go with the flashing light instead of challenging the speed reading ability of drivers.

--- Cincinnati: We let Dayton be first in flight, what can we be first in?

--- Texting while walking can be dangerous. Texting while walking in front of a live news shot can be viral.

--- What are these SEC coaches thinking?

--- I can't handle one
more second of Jeremy Lin coverage --- unless it's on The Daily Show.

--- Today is Michael Jordan's birthday. Even though he's run the Bobcats into the ground, I will never care. That's because I can always rerack his Top 10 dunks of all time.

Always great to see Kelly Tripuka again.


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