Sleeping with the Enemy: The Bearcats of Cincinnati

@Rubie_Q

Under the covers with the Bearcats.

Your Fighting Hoyas of Georgetown roll into Cincinnati tonight to take on the dreaded Bearcats, and as usual we here at THE GLOBAL PHENOMENON are bringing you everything you need to know about Georgetown's next opponent. Back with us to give us a look at all things Cincy are our brothers at Down The Drive, the place to be for all things Bearcats on the internets. Dudes, this bomber of CasuALE is for you. Lets' get to it.

Let's set the mood for this nice and early. We at Georgetown don't like you very much, and by you, I specifically mean Cashmere Wright, who famously broke Chris Wright's hand two years ago which in effect ruined our season. Also, the Bearcats seemingly have Georgetown's number of late, winning the last 4 outings. Also also, thank god Yancy Gates is gone. No question here.

We certainly understand the collective dislike from Hoya fans. I think we're all still trying to figure out how UC pulled that Big East Tournament game out last year. To this day I swore the Bearcats were dead. I believe Cash has paid for his sins since then. Especially if you consider he's been playing with a bad knee and shoulder from practically the time he stepped on campus five years ago. Since then he's had three knee surgeries and countless times his shoulder has popped out of place. He is already slated for another shoulder surgery after the season is completed. I have no idea how he's pushing through, but he is. You may also be happy to hear that he's on a terrible cold streak since hurting his knee again in the DePaul game. He's just 8-of-41 (19.5%) from three and 14-of-67 (20.1%) so maybe after this game Hoya Nation can forgive Cash and let him play the final few weeks of his senior season on a hot streak. Please??? As for the enigma that is Yancy Gates. While he was never the player Bearcat fans had hoped he'd be, he is miles better than the current big men UC has. In fact, UC has no inside game whatsoever. They are guard oriented and throw it inside approximately once a game. And that's no exaggeration. The current crop of Cheikh Mbodj, David Nyarsuk, and Kelvin Gaines have no low post moves, no strength, and practically no chance of scoring anything outside of a put back. Again, that's no exaggeration...sadly.


In your view are the Bearcats underachieving a bit this season? Shouldn't this senior-laden team be one of the better teams in the country? What do you attribute the relative struggles to?


Coming into this season, the "Three Amigos" as they're called (Cashmere Wright, Sean Kilpatrick, and Jaquon Parker) were expected to lead UC to newer, greater heights. Well, the previously documented injuries to Wright, coupled with the increased pressure on Parker to perform have hampered this team. With the departure of Dion Dixon, Parker had to be more of a scorer instead of the dirty do-it-all guy and he hasn't lived up to it. In addition, Parker has really struggled at the foul line. Last year he shot 68% from the line. While not great, it's better than this year's current 55%. But in my view, the team's biggest deficiency is down low in the post game that provides practically zero boost to the offense. Yancy Gates is missed more and more every game around here.


With the Catholic 7 defecting and leaving for (hopefully) greener pastures, you guys are left to wallow in what is a distinctly mediocre "Big East." As a Cincy guy, are you OK with the school's position in Conference realignment? If you had your choice, where would Cincy be in a couple of years?

It's extremely sad to see the current Big East go away. Cincinnati was a late-comer to the conference, but it's just so much fun to watch nearly every game due to the extreme competitiveness of every program. Just about every game goes to the wire and is a kill-or-be-killed style that I find thoroughly entertaining. It's a shame football has killed this fantastic basketball conference. As for where UC ends up? At this point no one knows, but I'd love to see them work their way into the ACC. I think there are constant rumors about the Big XII (or whatever they'll be called) possibly expanding again, but I for one think the ACC is a better fit especially for football. Looking at West Virginia's struggles in the new conference this fall scares the crap out of the UC football fan in me. Can they compete in the Big XII? I'm not so sure. But I do think they would be able to compete in the ACC immediately. As for basketball, I think UC will be fine no matter what conference they end up joining. Obviously, I'd hope for something bigger like the ACC but until we get some sort of ruling on the Maryland lawsuit, it's anyone's guess.


Please use this space to justify the following: "The Cincinnati-style chili is one of the better chili dishes in the country."

Skyline-chili_medium

Is this chili? via www.cincinnatifavorites.com


It's amazing how different it is. There is no middle ground. You either love it or you hate it. And it's not even a "you have to live here your whole life to appreciate it" thing. I know plenty of people who have moved here who love it and plenty who have lived here their whole life who hate it. Personally, I love it and try to eat it once a week. My belly agrees. But it's definitely a Cincinnati thing. Whether they put chocolate or cinnamon in it, I have no idea. But whatever it is is delicious and I can't get enough of it. I'm pretty sure I didn't do it very much justice in that response.

Where would you be happy with the Bearcats finishing in the Big East this season?

They were picked 3rd or 4th in the preseason polls I believe. Currently they're 8th so obviously I'd prefer to go higher. Unfortunately, looking at the upcoming schedule I'm not sure that's possible. Moving up to 5th would be wonderful. I'm just not sure this team is playing well enough right now to think that's at all possible. Another in the long line of great things about this league is one big win can boost a team's confidence level sky high and they can play with anyone. I just look at Villanova knocking off Syracuse and Louisville in the same week, then losing to Providence at home the next week.


What's your outlook for the Bearcats in March? Sweet sixteen or bust?


If someone told me UC would go back to the Sweet 16 I'd take that right now. I'm just not sure they are capable of that. Of course, it will all depend on the right matchup. Any team with a dominant big man would create terrible matchup problems for UC. With a 7-5 record in the conference, and them banged up and not playing so hot at this point in the season, I'd honestly be fine with winning the opening game and getting knocked out the first weekend. We're not going to settle for that, but until Cashmere Wright shows he's healthy UC's offense is going to struggle.


Sean Kilpatrick. Pro or no?


My personal opinion is SK is not an NBA pro, but he can probably play for a long time over in Europe. He can shoot and he can score. The problem I think he will have getting into the NBA is he cannot create his own shot. There's been speculation he might be leaving after this year due to his age (23), his daughter, and his ability to make money at least overseas. If he stays for his senior year, he could potentially develop his offensive game to the point the NBA is an option for him. Obviously Bearcat fans far and wide hope he comes back. With Parker and Wright graduating, it could be mighty tough to replace all that experience and production.


Other than Kilpatrick, who are the main guys that the Hoyas need to watch out for tonight?


If Wright is his usual self he is certainly a guy Hoya fans need to be wary of. As I've made very clear, there is no one inside who will give Georgetown fits. Parker is coming off a nice 19-point outburst versus Villanova so he might be on an upswing. Titus Rubles is a wing with the potential to score, but as a lot of JUCO players go, he's been very tentative lately. And trust me, you want him shooting from outside. It's perhaps the ugliest shot in the history of the game. But if he gets into the lane he can dish to the big men for easy buckets. Well, with those guys down there nothing is easy. On defense, Justin Jackson sets the tone for this team. He's coming off an ankle injury so he may be a little slowed. But while he has little to no chance of providing a scoring boost, his defense is key to the Bearcats and their hopes of winning. He injured his ankle early in the Pittsburgh game when UC was up 8, then missed the rest of the game and Pitt won by 10. Not saying that's the only reason but it certainly affected the outcome.

If this game weren't on Friday night between 9-11pm, what would you otherwise typically be doing to occupy your time?

My children occupy any and all free time, so I'd be chasing those little monsters around trying to get them into bed. Unfortunately for my wife, she will be the lucky one to attempt that while I'm in my seat at Fifth Third Arena.


How do you see this game playing out? Final score prediction?


Seeing that UC still really needs this win, and the fact that for some odd reason they seem to have Georgetown's number, I see a typical Big East blood bath with the Bearcats winning 62-58. So congratulations to all Hoyas. I picked the Bearcats to win. No way that happens now.

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