Now that the Early Entry Withdraw Deadline has passed, we have a pretty good sense of how the rosters for all the Big East teams will look next year. So over the next two weeks I will be doing a post on each of the Big East teams and breakdown who they lose, who they return, what recruits they're bringing in, and some reasonable expectations for next year.
First up the Cincinnati Bearcats.Cincinnati was one of the surprise teams last year. They finished 7th in the Big East, their highest finish ever and advanced to the second (third) round of the NCAA tournament where they lost to UConn. A deep senior laden team that depended on their defense to win basketball games.
Early Entry: None
Juniors: Cashmere Wright (8.9pts, 3.9asts) Jaquon Parker (1.5pts 1.7rbds)
Sophomores: Sean Kilpatrick (9.7pts 3.2rbds), Justin Jackson (2.5pts, 2.5rbds)
Shaquille Thomas 6'6" SF #81 Rivals #78 Scout
Jermaine Sanders 6'4" SF #131 Rivals NR Scout
Octavius Ellis 6'8" PF Not Ranked
Cheikh Mbodj 6'10" PF Junior college Transfer
Jeremiah Davis 6'2" SG Not Ranked
Ge'Lawn Guyn 6'3" SG Not Ranked
Cincinnati loses a lot of their depth that made them an effective defensive force. They also lose their best defender in Rashad Bishop. However, they do return their top 4 scorers and lead rebounder. Cincinnati returns 66.8% of their scoring and 59.3% of their rebounding. They bring in a 6 person recruiting class to replace all the departures. The only two of note though are Shaw Thomas and Jermaine Sanders. Thomas is an athletic versatile tweener who will need to add strength to compete in the Big East. Sanders is a 3-point shooter and an aggressive scorer who lacks ball handling skills and a defensive presence. Cincinnati should be competing for the middle tier of the Big East again this season. The main question mark is will they be able to replicate their defensive prowess with all the departures. They made a massive leap in defensive efficiency last year from 59th to 18th. If they can keep that up they will stay around the level they were last season. If the change over results in a break down of the defense they could drop off.