Preview of Thursday's Game:
Stop Two on Revenge Tour 2K12 is a nice little rematch against the Cincinnati Bearcats. These are the very same Bearcats that have defeated us three times in a row and gave us our lone home loss this season. As the #4 seed in the BET, Cincy has a great shot to make the NCAA Tourney, but is by no means a lock. Because of Cincy's woeful non-conference strength of schedule, the Bearcats need one more win to feel comfortable about their postseason prospects. The Hoyas will have to crank it up a notch.
More GTM after the Jump....
The Last Time These Teams Met
The last time these teams met - on January 9 at the Verizon Center - the Hoyas squandered a late second half lead and allowed Cincy to escape with a 68-64 win, despite the Hoyas shooting 59% from the floor. In the last six minutes of the game, Georgetown committed five turnovers and only attempted four shots. Throughout the game, turnovers killed us - we finished with 17 and we just couldn't put it together. Henry and Jason combined for nine turnovers.
And Sean Kilpatrick and Dion Dixon, Cincy's two best guards, absolutely killed us. They finished with 49 points and eight steals. Kilpatrick and Dixon had 18 field goals; to put that in perspective, we just held Pitt's entire team to 18 field goals.
Hollis and Nate played well in the first half. Hollis hit all four of his three-point attempts in the first half, but was limited to one shot in the second. Nate had one of his best games of the season, finishing with eight points and eight boards.
We held Yancy Gates in check, but he was tough on defense and on the glass (seven rebounds), and we also did a nice job on Cashmere "The Dude Who Broke Chris Wright's Hand" Wright. Cashmere was 0 for 6 from the floor. (It pains me that Chris Wright's injury was caused by a guy named C Wright. It also pains me that Cashmere hit two huge free throws to ice the game against us.) What really killed us, though, was Cincy's ability to get inside and go to the free throw line. The Bearcats made 18 of 22 free throws; the Hoyas made 6 of 10. That can't happen again.
How Cincinnati Has Looked Since January 9th
Cincinnati has had an up-and-down season, but is a relatively solid team that always plays hard and is tough to score against. In the last two months, Cincy has had some good wins (Connecticut, Louisville, Marquette) and a tough loss at Rutgers, but for the most part, Cincy has improved steadily. The Bearcats have won five of their last six contests and are getting hot at the right time.
Sean Kilpatrick (14.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.0 apg) and Dion Dixon (13.5 ppg, 2.2 apg) form a pretty solid one-two punch in Cincy's backcourt. They lead the team in scoring and provide a physical presence on the defensive end. At 6'4'', Kilpatrick is a big guard who pushes his way into the lane and has the ability to take his defender off the dribble or create space for himself and hit jumpers. Dixon is smaller, but he's a savvy veteran who also knows how to get his shot. Kilpatrick is a better shooter, and he leads the team with 76 threes, while Dixon sometimes gets frustrated and forces too many shots (he shoots a weak 28.2 % from deep). Joining Kilpatrick and Dixon is The Dude Who Broke Chris Wright's Hand (10.7 ppg, 4.5 apg). Cashmere is Cincy's leading facilitator. He's dangerous as a passer, but is not as much of a threat to hit shots from the perimeter (he forces too many shots). Cashmere and Dixon lead the team in steals.
Down low, the Hoyas will have to worry about fat Yancy Gates (11.8 ppg, 9.4 rpg) and long Justin Jackson (5.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg). Gates is a solid rebounder and a force in the paint; he's also developed a decent mid-range game. We all know this because he's been in the league for like 15 years. Justin Jackson is more of a shot blocker, but he also has quick hands and will be the guy most likely trying to poke the ball away from Henry.
Jaquon Parker (9.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg), a 6'3'' junior, is exactly the type of player who may go off for 15 points against us. Parker didn't score against us in the last game, but he's improving and shouldn't be left alone. He's one of Cincy's better three-point shooters.
Keys to the Game:
1. Get to the Free Throw Line: It worked against Pitt, and it should work against Cincy. The last time we played Cincy, we gave up 22 free throws and only attempted ten. We never really established an inside presence and we relied on Hollis's hot hand in the first half of that game. We have to get the ball inside and demonstrate an ability to score in the paint or get to the foul line. Jacking up perimeter shots at the end of the shot clock won't get it done.
2. Force Perimeter Shots: Cincy is basically a slightly better version of Pittsburgh. The Bearcats' guards are a little stronger and they play better team defense. But everything else is kind of the same. Cincy won't wow anyone with its perimeter shooting. Kilpatrick, Parker and The Dude Who Broke Chris Wright's Hand can all hit shots, but there aren't any pure sharp-shooters to worry about. I'm more concerned about allowing Kilpatrick and Dixon to get into the lane. We need to do exactly what we did against Pitt. Stay in front of Pitt's guards and force them to go over the top.
3. Attack the Glass: Sound familiar? Same as the Pitt game. We out-rebounded Cincy the last time we played, and we'll need to do it again in this game. Look for Nate, Hollis and Otto to bring it. We can't allow second chance points. This will be one of those grind-it-out slugfest types of games. We need to be physical.
4. Limit Turnovers: We committed 17 turnovers against them in the last game. Henry had five and Jason had four. Cincy will swipe and bump and push Henry every time he touches the ball in the high post. And if Jason is our only true ball handler, expect Cincy to set up traps and force him to make decisions. Cincy is feisty. We can't allow our mental errors to lead to easy Cincy baskets.
5. JCDeuceUNO: Jason Clark gets another look in these Keys because we can't beat good teams without him. We got lucky against Pitt. For us to beat Cincy, we need him to play well. Plain and simple. Let's see #21 play smart and be a factor in this one.
Why This Game Matters
It's the BET quarterfinals, probably the most exciting day of Big East basketball all year. And we're facing a team that defeated us at home this season (in a game we gave away), a team that has outplayed us in each of the last three games. They've been bigger and stronger and tougher than us in the last few years. We need to play like men and get the ball inside and push them around for a change.
The winner gets to play on Friday night. And there's nothing like playing at the Garden on Friday night. Go hard, play smart, and bring it. Let's get it done.
"Hello six-fingered man. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."
"My name is Shosanna Dreyfus, and this is the face of Jewish vengeance."
Movies are awesome. But I'd rather watch us beat Syracuse on Friday night.
Let's go Hoyas. Beat Cincinnati.