Cincinnati vs Florida State NCAA Tournament Preview

Tonight at around 9:40 pm, 30 minutes after the the South Florida vs Ohio game ends, the 6 seed Cincinnati Bearcats take on former Metro Conference rival 3rd seeded Florida State in the NCAA Tournament. The Bearcats are looking to get back to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2000, when Kenny Satterfield, Steve Logan and Immanuel McElroy powered the way. Of course that season, UC beat a couple of double digit seeds. This season they are playing one of the Final Four darkhorses in the East region, the Florida State Seminoles. Check out Florida State discussion with Tomahawk Nation

I don’t know about you guys, but I am a bundle of nerves. I want nothing more than for Cincinnati to win this game. They need to win. They need to win for the sole reason that the season can not end tonight. I’m not ready for it to be over. There is more fun to be had down the line. This team has business left on the agenda. I know they can win. I believe they can win. They need to win. God, I’m pumped up and it’s a looooooong time before tip off. Let’s do this. Boston or bust.

Game Time: 9:40 (estimated) PM Eastern
Channel: TBS
Announcers: Ian Eagle and Jim Spanarkel, with Lewis Johnson


Record: 25-10
Coach: Mick Cronin 112-87
Vs Florida State: 15-22
Neutral: 4-1
NCAA Tournament Record: 42-24
Last Trip: 6 seed: Beat 11 Missouri, Lost 3 Connecticut

G: Sean Kilpatrick – The sophomore guard plays 34 minutes a game with 14.3 points. He used 20.8% of the UC possessions with an offensive rating of 114.8. Kilpatrick hit 42.3% from the field. He was 1st in the Big East in 3s made and attempted, going 171-404, 36.8%. That ranked 4th in the BE. Kilpatrick was a good foul shooter, 74%, but got there at a 20.2 rate (20.2 attempts per 100 FG attempts). Kilpatrick got 51.7% of his points off 3s, tops in the BE. He pulled in 4.6 rebounds a game. He specialized on the defensive side by getting 10.8% of all defensive rebounds. Kilpatrick had 70 assists to 51 turnovers for a 1.4 assist/turnover ratio. He had 45 steals, 18th in the BE. One of the biggest keys for the Bearcats is to get SK going. He’s been very cold lately. 

G: Dion Dixon – My best friend played 34 minutes a game with 13.1 points. Dixon used 22.9% of the UC possessions with a 102.3 offensive rating. Dixon was 37% from the field. That was hampered by 26.8% 3 point shooting. He took the 11th most attempts in the BE to boot. Dixon hit 69.5% of his free throws, which was down from 76%. That’s a big part of why his scoring didn’t improve as much. Dixon pulled in 3.5 boards a game. He got 5.7% of the offensive and defensive boards. He had 73 assists to 59 turnovers for a 1.2 A/T ratio. Dixon was 8th in the BE with 56 steals. His steal pct of 3 ranked 17th. Dixon blocked a career best 16 shots. He committed the fewest fouls of his career. The biggest key for Dixon in the tournament is reigning it in. When he tries to do too much, UC suffers. When he goes with the flow, the machine rolls. 

G: Cashmere Wright – The junior point guard played 31 minutes a game with 10.9 points. Wright used 22% of the UC possessions with a 105.3 offensive rating. He was 41% from the field, a little disappointing, but continues to get better from 3. He hit a career best 37.2%. Wright only got to the foul line 57 times. He made 65%. Wright upped his rebounding to 3.7 boards a game. He pulled in 10.7% of the defensive rebounds. Wright was 8th in the BE with 155 assists. He had 77 turnovers for a A/T ratio of 2, 9th. Wright was one of the best players in the nation at getting steals. He had 69, 23rd NCAA/4th BE. his 2 a game were 37/9 and his steal pct of 4 was 42/6. Wright is one of, if not the, most important Bearcats. He needs to do a better job of getting the offense rolling than he did against Louisville. More of the Syracuse Cash, less of the Louisville Cash. Except score like he did against Louisville. 

G: JaQuon Parker – Parker plays 26 minutes a game with 9.2 points. He uses 19% of the Cincinnati possessions with a 110.7 offensive rating. Parker hit 42.4% from the field. He hit an even 40% from 3. Parker was an average foul shooter at 68%. Parker pulled in 5.4 boards a game. He got 7.1% of the offensive boards and 16.4% of the defensive. Parker had 29 assists, that seems low, to 25 turnovers for a 1.2 A/T ratio. Park had 16 steals, more than his first 2 years combined. As you can see, Parker doesn’t stand out by the stats. He does the little things. He sets the screen, he gets the rebound, he guards the post. He’s the glue holding the team together. I love how he’s confident taking a big up top and beating him off the dribble. If he can do that against UT, he could have a nice game. 

C: Yancy Gates – The senior played 32 minutes a game with 12.4 points. Gates used 21.4% of the UC possessions with a 108.2 offensive rating. Gates hit a career low 47% from the field. He hit a career best 60% from the foul line to make up for it a little bit. Gates was one of the best rebounders in the BE. He was 3rd in rebounds per game at 9.2. His 3.4 offensive rebounds ranked 24/5. He got 11.4% of the offensive boards, which ranked 12th. Gates was 6th in the BE in defensive boards per game at 5.8 and 4th by getting 20.9%. Yancy had 21 assists to 30 turnovers. He had 19 steals. He blocked 24 shots. He was whistled for 2.5 fouls a game. Gates has played the best games of his career when the spotlight has been brightest. Look at the Georgetown and Syracuse games. If he didn’t run out of gas against Louisville, maybe the story could have been different. I hope he has a big tournament to go out on. 

Bench: Justin Jackson – Jackson plays 22 minutes a game with 5.1 points per. He uses 16.8% of the Bearcat possessions with a 97 offensive rating. He hit 51% from the field, slightly down from last year. He was 33-61 from the foul line, 54%. A marked improvement. Jackson pulled in 4.3 rebounds a game. He got 9.9% of the offensive boards, 19th in the BE and 12.6% of the defensive boards. That’s disappointing. He had 38 assists to 50 turnovers. Jackson was a defensive dynamo. He had 32 steals. He blocked 55 shots, 4th in the BE. His 1.6 a game was 5. His 7.9 block pct was also 5th. Jackson was 4th in fouls. He fouled out 6 times. I don’t think UC needs Jackson to score, they need the defense Jackson brings. That means avoiding foul trouble. 

Ge’Lawn Guyn – The freshman is playing 11 minutes a game with 2.5 points. He used 15.2% of the UC possessions with a 93.6 offensive rating. That’s bad. He was 40% from the field. He made a lot of 2s because he was just 9-33, 27% from 3. Guyn hit 9-14, 64% at the foul line. Guyn had 26 boards, less than 1 per game. He had 19 assists to 17 turnovers. Guyn did have 16 steals. He plays tough defense on opposing ball handlers. He doesn’t do much else. 

Cheikh Mbodj – The junior big is playing 10 minutes a game with 1.8 points. That’s not close to true anymore, but those are the averages. He uses 13.8% of possessions with a 95.3 offensive rating. He hit just 19-52 from the field. That’s 36%. Many were layups. He was 7-18 at the foul line, 39%. 13 pulled in 2.2 boards a game. He got 11.8% of the offensive boards and 13.1% of the defensive. He blocked 18 shots. 

Jermaine Sanders – Sanders played when Cash got in roul trouble against Texas. Interested to see if he gets more run. 

Jeremiah Davis – Sorry man, bench. 

Alex Eppensteiner – I hope you get to play because it’s a blowout. 

Record: 25-9
Coach: Leonard Hamilton 176-126
Neutral: 5-2
NCAA Touranemnt Record: 15-13
Last Run: 10 seed: Beat 7 Texas A&M, beat 2 Notre Dame, lost 11 VCU

G: Michael Snaer – The 6’5 juinor guard plays 30 minutes a game with 14.1 points. He used 22.9% of the FSU possessions with a 110.9 offensive rating. Snaer made 163 FGs (10th in ACC) out of 372 attempts (7th) for a 43.8%. He was 67-157, 40.8% from 3. He was 6th in makes and 10th in attempts. Dude can bomb. Snaer is a great foul shooter. Doesn’t get there a lot, 27.9 rate, but he hit 85%. Scorers do that. He is coming off a 0 point game against St Bona. Snaer pulled in 3.9 boards a game. He got 10.2% of the defensive boards. He had 67 assists to 72 turnovers. Snaer was 13th in the ACC with 39 steals. He blocked 13 shots. Snaer scored over 20 7 times. He was held to single digits 7 times. When he’s good, he’s great. He had 23 in a win over Clemson on the back of 5 threes. He’s a great 3 shooter. Dangerous player. He also did this. Twice

G: Luke Loucks – The 6-5 guard plays 27 minutes a game with 6.9 points. He uses 19% of FSU possessions with a 97.3 offensive rating. Loucks hit just 39% from the field this season. He was mainly a 3 shooter, 90 of 201 attempts, but made 33%. He was a pedestrian 68% at the foul line. Not a good shooting season. Loucks pulled in 3.4 boards a game. He got 11.6% of the defensive boards. He had a team best 148 assists, 3rd in the ACC, against 85 turnovers for a 1.7 A/T ratio. That ranked 8th. Loucks was a lock down defender. He had 42 steals, 9th, 1.2 a game, 10th, and got them on 2.7% of possessions, 10th. Loucks had a couple of big games this season. He scored 18 against South Alabama. He had 15 against Florida. His best game was a 10 point, 13 assist game against UNC in the ACC tournament title game. He had 4 steals in the 33 point domination of UNC. He loved playing the Tar Heels. 

G: Deividas Dulkys – The 6-5 senior guard played 24 minutes a game with 7 points per. He used 15.6% of FSU possessions with a 102.5 offensive rating. 128 of Dulkys’ 190 shots were 3s. He was 37.5% from 3 and 41.6% from the field overall. He’s a pretty good shooter. He’s also a very good foul shooter. Doesn’t get there much, 20 rate, but hit 82%. He pulled in 2.6 rebounds a game. 3% of them offensive, 8.8% defensive. He had 40 assists to 55 turnovers. Dulkys is a thief. He had 43 steals, 7th, 1.3 a game, 8th, but a 3% steals pct, 6th. You have to protect the ball around him. He blocked 18 shots. He can get in foul trouble and fouled out of 2 games. Dulkys went off in 1 game this season that he’ll remember the rest of his life. He had 32 against Carolina on 12-14 shooting, 8-10 from 3. He put up 16 three other times. He hit 4 threes in all of those. He hit 4 threes in another game too. When he hits, he can make multiples. Dulkys had his season high in assists and steals, both 4, in the Carolina win. 

F: Bernard James – The 6-10 senior forward is playing 28 minutes a game with 10.8 points. He’s using 20% of the Seminole possessions with a 108.2 offensive rating. James took all his shots from 2 this season. Nearly all them around the basket. The reason why is because he makes a lot of them. He was 151-246, 61.4%. That percent was 24th in the country and tops in the ACC. James is a very poor foul shooter. He was 64-115, 56%. James was 6th in the ACC in rebounding with 8.2 a game. He pulled in 3.1 off rebs, 4th, at 13.9%, 5th. His 5.1 defensive boards were 8th. His 19.7% ranked 9th. James had 9 assists to 69 turnovers. That’s a poor ratio. He had 26 steals. He’s one of the best shot blockers in Amercia. He was 20th with 79 blocks. He blocked 2.3 a game. He blocked shots on 9.4% of possessions. Dude can get up. He also doesn’t get in foul trouble. 0 foul outs, under 2 fouls a game. James carried FSU with a career high 19 against St Bona. He had 3 other 18 point games this year. That included an 18-15 double double against Va Tech. He had 11-14 against UConn. He blocked 5 shots in a game 3 times and 4 shots another 3 times. 

C: Xavier Gibson – The 6-10 senior is playing 18 minutes a game with 6.9 points. He’s using 23.2% of the FSU possessions with a 91.1 offensive rating. He hit 48% from the field. He stepped out of 3s 19 times, making 5. He’s a decent foul shooter, maybe above average for his size. He hit 68%. White pulled in 4.3 boards a game. 10.6% of them were offensive, 16.2% defensive. Gibson had 13 assists to 67 turnovers. He had 19 steals. Gibson is another good shot blocker. He was 9th in the ACC with 41 and 1.2 a game. He was 5th with a 7.3 block pct. He will get whistles, 93 fouls. He fouled out of 2 games. Gibson had 16 in the first win over Duke. 10 of the 11 games he scored in double digits, FSU won. He had 8 boards twice. Gibson has scored 12 points the last 4 games with 5 rebounds. 

Bench: Okaro White – The 6-8 forward is playing 22 minutes a game with 7.8 points. He is using 18.4% of possessions with a 107 offensive rating. White hit 49% of his shots this season. Most of them were 2s, but he stepped out from 3 time to time. He made 11-32, 34%. Not bad. He’s a good foul shooter for a big man and he gets there a lot. He is 73-97, 75%. White pulls in 4.3 boards a game. He got 1.6 offensive a game, 8.8% and 13.1% of defensive. He had 18 assists to 49 turnovers. He had 20 steals. White blocked 14 shots. He was 2nd in the ACC with 107 fouls. He averages over 3.1 a game. He fouled out of 6 games. That’s a lot. White scored 20 against CSU and 18 against Stetson. His ACC high was 13 twice. He had 11 boards twice, including an 11-11 double double against UMass. He had 12-10 in the UNC blowout. 

Ian Miller – The 6-3 guard is playing 24 minutes a game with 10.8 points. He’s using 22.5% of possessions with a 107.6 offensive rating. Miller is a gunner. he hit 40.5% from the field. 95 of his 205 shots were 3s. He hit 34. That comes out to 36%. That’s kind of good. Miller got to the line at a decent rate of 30. He hit 77%. He doesn’t rebound, 1.8 a game. He had 29 assists to 30 turnovers. Miller had 31 steals with a 3.3 steal pct. He can be rather foul happy, 2 a game with 2 foul outs. Miller can go off on teams. He had 18 three times, all in wins. He had 17 twice. In most of those games he got to the line at least 5 times. He had 4 steals against Maryland. I’m worried about him. 

Jeff Peterson – No, not Geoff Peterson, this Jeff plays 16 minutes a game with 3.1 points. He uses 17.7% of possessions with a 77.2 offensive rating. You or I could actually do that. Peterson hit 43% from the field. He was 6-26 from 3, 23%. He was 15-29 at the foul line, 52%. He pulled in 1.5 boards. He did have 60 assists, but 61 turnovers. Peterson has 20 steals. He blocked 1 shot. He scored a season high 9 in November. He has attempted 2 shots the last 4 games. He has 7 turnovs to 4 assists in that span. 

John Kreft – The 6-10 big man is playing 10 minutes a game with 2.9 points. He’s using 19.2% of possessions with a 86.8 offensive rating. That’s bad. He’s 47% from the field. He was 20-27, 74% at the foul line. That must mean he turns the ball over a lot. Kreft pulled in 2.3 boards a game, 10.8% of offensive, 15% defensive. He had 8 assists to 36 turnovers. Good lord that’s a lot of turnovers. He had 9 steals. He blocked 20 shots. Don’t sleep on him. Kreft saved his best for last. He had a season high 9 in the ACC tournament final against UNC. 

Terry Whisnant II – The guard is playing 8 minutes a game with 2.1 points. He’s using 15.7% of possessions with a 108 offensive rating. He’s 19-55 from the field, 34.5%. 11-40 from 3, 27.5%. 4-6 at the foul line. He had 25 boards, 10 offensive. 12 assists to 6 turnovers. 6 steals. He scored 11 twice this season, both in December, both in blowouts. 

Paw Points

1cincinnatilogo9Loucks, Dulkys, Gibson, Gates and Dixon were the only players to play 4 years ago when Florida State beat Cincinnati 58-47 in Las Vegas. Loucks and Gibson were the leading scorers of the group with 4. None of them had any kind of significant stats. 

1cincinnatilogo9 The last 3 FSU games have been decided by 3 or less. They’ve won the last 6. 

1cincinnatilogo9 UC hasn’t lost to a non-Big East team in the NCAA tournament since 2005. 

1cincinnatilogo9 Cincinnati has lost in the 2nd round of the last 2 postseason tournaments they have participated. 

1cincinnatilogo9 The Bearcats play at 65 possessions a game, Florida State at 68.5. UC averages 1.05 points per possession and give up 0.94. FSU averages 1.03 and give up 0.92. 

1cincinnatilogo9Cincinnati is one of the worst shooting teams in the tournament. They hit 42% overall, 48% effective FG percent (FGs + 3s) and had a 50.3% true shooting (FGs+3s+FTs). FSU gave up 38%, 43.8% and 48.1% in all 3 of those. UC did hit 34% from 3. FSU gave up 31% from 3. The most encouraging sign is that UC attemps 20.7 threes a game. Florida State gives up 20.6. Gotta knock them down. 

1cincinnatilogo9Florida State was the best shooting team in ACC play. They hit 45.8% from the field this season. Their eFG was 51.4%. True shooting was 54.7%. All 3 of those were in the top 90. UC gave up 41%, 46% and 48.7%. The Noles hit 35.4% of their 3s. UC gave up 31.8%. The Seminoles attempted 17.5 a game. UC gave up 17.3 a game. 

1cincinnatilogo9Neither team got more than 20% of their points from the foul line. UC because they hit only 63.7%. Florida St hit 70.5%, but only attempted 19 a game. The Seminole opponents got 21.6% of their points from the foul line. That’s in some part because they got there 19 times a game, but because FSU opponents hit 71%. 

1cincinnatilogo9Both teams pulled in a little over 36 boards a game. UC was the better offensive rebounding team, 36% to 35.5%, but FSU is clearly the better defensive rebounding team, 69.9% to 65.5%. If the Bearcats are shut off the offensive glass, it could be a long day at the office. They should be able to keep the Noles off of it to a certain extent. 

1cincinnatilogo9Although neither team racks up assists, 13.1 UC, 12.2 FSU, the Bearcats don’t turn the ball over that much. UC turned the ball over on 16.3% of possessions. The Seminoles forced turnovers on 22.2%. FSU opponents had an A/T ratio of 0.69, 10.5 assists to 15.2 turnovers. 11.2% of those were Florida St steals. UC had the ball stolen from them on 8% of possessions. 

1cincinnatilogo9Florida State turns the ball over 16.1 times a gme. That’s a turnover percent of 23.5. That is one of the 21 worst in the nation. As you can see, the bigs are terrible with the ball. I think this could mean big things for Jackson, Parker and Gates with steals, especially if UC traps the post. The Bearcats forced turnovers on 21.6% of possessions. 12.3% of those were steals. Getting easy baskets is going to be key. 

1cincinnatilogo9UC will be wearing these uniforms

sksyra2 It’s worked out well for the other adidas schools. 


About Scott

I write Bearcats Blog and also on the Student Section.