Bearcats Breakfast 2.7.12

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I never realized how much I missed writing this blog until a week away from it. In a weird way, this blog has become like my pot of coffee every day. Without it, I just don't feel right.

I imagine, it's what Oprah talked about all those years with that life journal she always pushed (yeah, I know about Oprah's life journals, let's just move on amicably). I guess this blog is like my life journal except about sports. And 80s power ballads. And facial hair.

Point being, as I mentioned yesterday, happy to be back on the blog after being wisked away by other job obligations to cover Super Bowl week in Indy. I can only say that it was all anybody says it's cracked up to be. While eating at a restaurant I witnessed Plaxico Burress exchange a bro-hug with Jared from Subway. In many ways, that epitomized the week. Welcome to the matrix. Surreal.

Regardless, I'm back now and thanks to Chris Gundrum you stayed up to date on all things Bearcats last week. For that reason, I won't delve too much into stuff I missed while I was gone, instead keep looking forward.

On that note, let's eat...

--- I posted a blog
last night on the concept of recreating last year's late Big East run that cinched up the return to the tournament. UC needs a run of the same ilk this year.

--- If you are looking for the video of yesterday's media availability, which includes Mick Cronin getting a nice dig in on Ken Broo and Sports Rock, there is the link. (For the record, since Mick asked, the Bobcats have won six straight and are second in the MAC. Yet, I digress)

--- Bill Koch wrote a story about the increased maturity of Sean Kilpatrick. Another nice piece from Bill giving perspective behind the scenes to what makes SK tick.

Cronin talks in the piece about trying to extract that contested 3-pointer from Kilpatrick's arsenal. It reverts back to a discussion I had often on this blog about SK's need to take the ball to the bucket more than he fires away from the outside.

Finding the perfect balance of outside shooting to driving to the basket will make him the most efficient, the ultimate measure of a player's offensive worth.

There is an interesting correlation for SK between shooting 3s and possession efficiency.

Take a look at these Big East numbers. On some nights he scored a high number of points, but takes too many shots to do so and hinders a team with three other double-digit scorers.

It's broken down into points/field goal attempts/3-pointers attempted/percentage of shots that are 3s and then points per shot to measure efficiency.

Game           Pts/FGs/3FGa/%3Ps/Pts per shot 
Pitt                  19/18/11     61%   1.06     
Notre Dame     9/10/6      60%   0.90  
St. John's       21/21/15    71%    1.00
Georgetown    27/16/5     31%   1.68
Nova              14/7/3        43%    2.00
UConn           16/15/9      60%   1.06
WVU               12/11/7      64%   1.09
Syracuse        8/8/5        63%    1.00
Rutgers          11/12/8       67%   0.91
DePaul          16/12/6      50%    1.33

--- What really jumps out
at you about those numbers are notice his three best games as far as being an efficient scorer: Georgetown, Villanova and DePaul. In each of those, 50 percent or less of his shots were from 3-point range.

In all the rest of the games, the percentage of shots taken from 3-point range were 60 percent or above and his efficiency number never topped 1.1.

Those numbers are NOT a coincidence.
Shooting more 2s than 3s=higher efficiency for Kilpatrick. These are the facts of the case and they are undisputed.

--- While not addressing Kilpatrick in particular, rather talking about the guard play generally, Cronin touched on this topic. Working with guys on finding the right level of efficiency occurs every day in practice.

"Looking at our offensive efficiency at Pittsburgh, at Connecticut at Georgetown, our guards were really making plays," Cronin said. "Me getting those guys to where they can make the right plays, we work on every day the development of those guys.

"We are still taking way too many tough shots. Part of the guards playing well is throwing the ball inside when we are open on the interior. that is one area where we struggled against St.  John's zone int he first game. Whenever we struggle it is when we are taking tough shots instead of putting in more effort on the offensive end to break down a defense. My feeling is we have the talent to do it we just take the easy way out. Take the semi-open shot."

--- Bill also mentions in the story that Kilpatrick is on pace to own 814 points in his first two seasons. To advance those numbers a bit from what he came up with, he has a chance to be one of the top scorers in UC history.

If you place him at 814 (that is without any postseason numbers factored in), and have him average the 16 points per game his final two seasons at an average of 32 games (will likely be more with postseason), he would finish his UC career with 1,838 points.

That would place him fourth on UC's all-time scoring list. Not bad company

UC career points leaders

Player                    Points
Oscar Robertson     2,973
Steve Logan           1,985
Deonta Vaughn       1,885
Danny Fortson        1,881
Roger McClendon   1,789

To take it even a step further, if you factor in three postseason games for three seasons, that's nine more games for 144 more points which would put SK at 1,982, only three points shy of Logan for second in UC history --- otherwise known as the only attainable number considering how absurd the Big O's numbers were.

Again, pretty special career he built the foundation for here.

--- While we're on numbers,
Yancy Gates seems to pass one or two players on the all-time points list every time out now. As for where he's at in the climb, here you go.

16. Bobby Austin        1,385
17. Derrick Dickey      1,328
18. Yancy Gates         1,321
19. Levertis Robinson  1,320
20. Leonard Stokes     1,318
21. Damon Flint          1,316

If you keep Gates on his current pace of 13 points per game over the next eight regular season games and add in at least two postseason contests, you have 130 more points. He would eventually land at 1,451 and tied with Dwight Jones for 14th in UC history.

For the "oh, by the way" stat of the day, he will also be the only player in school history to lead his team in rebounds all four seasons.

--- The theme repeated year-in and year-out across college basketball is that guards win games in March. On that note, the conversation moved to the play of UC's guards, in particular Cashmere Wright. When asked to assess the play of Wright, who saved the day against DePaul on Saturday, Cronin offered this:

"The one thing he improved at is where he has struggled in games and kept playing and played well at the end," Cronin said. "DePaul, Oklahoma, just a few. He has definitely improved in his mental toughness, his belief in himself, not hanging his head, finding a way. As I tell guys, stat sheet is overrated. you got to make your team win. Make winning plays. Earlier in a career was a problem for him."

--- Scott Springer wrote about
the impact Justin Jackson can have on this team. His 14 and 8 sure changed the complexion of Saturday's game against DePaul. (Includes video interview)

--- Basketball Prospectus found a statistical answer to fix the RPI deficiency and predict the bubble better. It also contains bad news for this year's Bearcats.

--- ESPN's Bracketology offers some optimism, though, with the Cats in the tourney as of today.

--- UConn=dumpster fire. Of course, it's not like they were tearing it up at this point in time last year, though. Still, there don't appear to be any answers in sight.

--- Oklahoma nearly pulled off an RPI booster for the Bearcats, but a 3-pointer at the buzzer against No. 4 Mizzou bounced off the mark. It's a shame, too, because it was one of the most perfectly executed intentional miss free throws I have ever seen.

--- As we have known for awhile, Isaiah Pead, Derek Wolfe and John Hughes will be at the NFL Combine. Here is the official list.

--- Randomness...

--- Congrats to former strong Moeller Crusader Greg Jones for winning a Super Bowl and getting engaged on Sunday. And here is the video. One of those rings he's guaranteed to see for the rest of his life.

--- Jimmy Kimmel asked his readers
to pull the plug on their TVs during a critical moment of the Super Bowl and film it. Hilarity ensues.

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