Bearcats Breakfast 2.27.13

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The uni-geeks and sports fashion aficionados are all freaking out ready to go all Joan Rivers on the release of the new Adidas postseason jerseys. That includes UC who last year wore the infared jerseys during their postseason run along with Louisville and Baylor. 

The release of these at UC are set for Thursday, the Adidas Twitter folks are releasing one small piece at a time depending on how many retweets they get. 

One element that has been reported at this point is eight of the Adidas schools will wear jerseys with sleeves. <insert crowd gasp>

I'm not sure how I feel about this, but my opinion could not mean less, nor should it. Do the players like it? The end. They are the only ones that have to deal with it. For instance, they love wearing the current bleed-out black jerseys because they are so light and fit well. Meanwhile, cranky scribes like myself and the eight people still without HD TV hate it because it makes it difficult to make out names/numbers from afar. 

As for what these sleeve jerseys will look like, likely they'll be some variation of these Adidas McDonald's All-American Jerseys. 

So, there's that. Expect for the full UC look on Thursday. Follow me on Twitter for photos from the unveiling (@pauldehnerjr).  

Let's eat ...

--- Must start this post out with a warning: These numbers talk about Final Fours and national championships. I am in no way stating that UC will make it there, rather, pointing out their method of winning games is one that holds water in March. 

I found some interesting stats and thought they were worth sharing and piggybacking to the next step which applies to the Bearcats and their specific style of basketball this year.  

Jason Lisk at The Big Lead may love crunching basketball numbers more than I do, which is concerning for his personal life. He broke out an interesting look at predicting Final Four teams yesterday I found particularly relevant to the Bearcats. 

It shows that one of the most sure-fire predictor of making the Final Four is KenPom's defensive efficiency ratings. 

As for the numbers, he said this: 

Of the last 20 Final Four teams ...

* 9 of 20 (45%) have been in Ken Pom's Top 5 for defensive efficiency
* 16 of 20 (80%) have been in Ken Pom's Top 20 for defensive efficiency
* 18 of 20 (90%) have been in Ken Pom's Top 30 for defensive efficiency

For the record, UC has ranked among the top 20 in defense all season and currently is stationed at 18th in the country. 

This is not me standing on the mountaintop professing, "Book your tickets to Atlanta!" Not in the least. 

Although, I will continue down this train by pointing out a conversation Ken Pomeroy himself had about what he believes to be the stat that most predicts success in the tournament and he specifically mentioned offensive rebounding percentage. Mainly because when trying to win consistently, handling poor shooting nights is imperative. Hence, defense and rebounding.

Take a look at the last five years and where the Final Four teams fell in offensive rebounding percentage: 

  • 2012
  • Kentucky: 21
  • Louisville: 51
  • Kansas: 78
  • Ohio State: 43
  • 2011
  • UConn: 7
  • Butler: 157
  • Kentucky: 127
  • VCU: 230
  • 2010
  • Duke: 7
  • Butler: 232
  • West Virginia: 2
  • Michigan State: 10
  • 2009
  • North Carolina: 21
  • Michigan State: 5
  • UConn: 11
  • Villanova: 52
  • 2008
  • Kansas: 24
  • Memphis: 19
  • North Carolina: 1
  • UCLA: 10

The correlation in the numbers aren't as strong as defensive efficiency, particularly the last two years, but they sure aren't weak. Consider 55 percent of Final Four teams finished in the top 25 of offensive rebounding percentage. There are significant outliers, but clearly defense and rebounding is not a lost art in winning games in March.

--- Each of the last five national champs were in the Top 25 in both offensive rebounding percentage and defensive efficiency. Here's the list of Final Four teams in those categories: 

2012 Kentucky (nat'l champ), 2011 UConn (nat'l champ), 2010 Duke (nat'l champ), 2010 West Virginia, 2009 North Carolina (nat'l champ), 2009 Michigan State, 2009 UConn, 2008 Kansas (nat'l champ), 2008 Memphis, 2008 UCLA, 2008, 2008 North Carolina.  

So, knowing what we know now, kids, let's take a look at KenPom's stats this year and find out who is in the Top 25 in both offensive rebounding percentage and defensive efficiency: 

  • Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Indiana, Louisville, Cincinnati, Gonzaga. 

If you believe what's happened over the last five years would happen again in the sixth year, there are your national championship contenders. 

Want to reiterate here, I am in no way saying UC is going to win the national title or fans should be thinking along those lines right now, only pointing out that defense and rebounding are the key components to winning consecutive games in March.

--- Upon posting a few of those numbers on The Twitters yesterday, I was met back that I should look at the offensive efficiency numbers of past Final Four teams. Here are those: 


  • 2012
  • Kentucky: 2
  • Louisville: 103
  • Kansas: 19
  • Ohio State: 7
  • 2011
  • UConn: 16
  • Butler: 50
  • Kentucky: 7
  • VCU: 32
  • 2010
  • Duke: 1
  • Butler: 50
  • West Virginia: 11
  • Michigan State: 28
  • 2009
  • North Carolina: 1
  • Michigan State: 20
  • UConn: 15
  • Villanova: 22
  • 2008
  • Kansas: 2
  • Memphis: 4
  • North Carolina: 1
  • UCLA: 7
Offensive rebounding is, obviously, a part of good offense, but yes, clearly you need to be efficient on offense to reach the Final Four. 

Remarkable, however, the close connection between last year's Louisville team and this year's Bearcats. Louisville ranked 103rd in offense. The Bearcats are currently 103rd in offense. Last year's Louisville defense was the top defensive team in the nation, the Bearcats are 18th, but spent most of the season in the top 10. As I wrote earlier this week, Louisville also struggled mightily down the stretch last year, losing four of their final six before the Big East tournament. 

Again, not saying UC will do what Louisville did, only the intriguing correlation between the two teams. 

--- First things first, UC needs to find a way to beat UConn on Saturday. That begins with fixing Cashmere Wright. Dan Hoard wrote about it yesterday

--- Sean Kilpatrick turning it up would also go a long way for UC to turning the negative momentum around. He's on the list of Top 30 candidates for the Naismith award for a reason, because he belongs there. 

Here's the list. Good company. 

--- Randomness ...

--- What's more amazing? That Blake Griffin decided at the last second to dunk a 60-foot lob or that we all nearly yawn at the regularity of such absurdity.

--- I honestly can't think of a more fitting substance a Louis C.K. portrait should be made of other than Cheetos. 

--- If she drops your engagement ring in a homeless guy's cup, you should probably re-join 

--- Little did you realize Big Heads at college basketball games have been around for 11 years. And even now a truly original, creative Big Head always makes me laugh. 

--- Twitter is worth $10 billion. No witty line here. That's insane. 

--- Tonight is Muse at US Bank Arena. I'm not a huge fan, but enjoy some of their stuff. Since I know I'm in the minority in that opinion, here's some Muse to get you all jacked up. 

As always, I want to hear from you. Shoot any comments, questions and Evansville Purple Aces sleeve-jersey photos to or @pauldehnerjr.


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