Tomorrow at 2 PM the Cincinnati Bearcats head to Charleston, West Virginia to play the Marshall Thundering Herd on the CBS Sports Network. I had a big, long preview written, and then hit control something and didn't know what just happened and now it's all blank. So you are just getting a paw point preview.
Marshall's top scorer is DeAndre Kane. He is not playing tomorrow. He's also the guy who runs their offense. He has 85 assists. The rest of the team has 71. Marshall is going to be in a lot of trouble without their top dog. They don't turn the ball over a ton, but the guys who will be forced to handle the ball have assist to turnover ratios that are awful. The Bearcats defense should be looking for steals.
Marshall has 2 great rebounders in Dennis Tinnon and Nigel Spikes. Tinnon is pulling in 9.7 rebounds a game, Spikes 9.2. Spikes plays less minutes than Tinnon and his rebound numbers are a little bit more impressive. Tinnon has good numbers, but his percentages are down from last season. Tinnon and Spikes are both excellent offensive rebounders if you look at the total number of offensive rebounds.
These are 2 of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country. Cincinnati is better at it than Marshall is, however. The Bearcats opponents pull in less offensive rebounds than do Marshall's opponents. That's what happens when people shoot such a low percentage against your defense. That should be something of what happens tomorrow.
Marshall may be without Kane, but they have some scoring options. DD Scarver is averaging nearly 15 points a game. He's made 26 three pointers. Elijah Pittman is averaging 14.2 points a game. He's made 17 threes.
The Bearcats have to keep those guys from getting looks from deep. As Ken Pomeroy has written many times, 3 point defense isn't about 3 point percentage. It's about not giving up looks from 3. You can't help it once the ball leaves the hand. You can help it by forcing bad looks. Marshall shoots 3 nearly as much as UC does. Gotta keep them inside.
Marshall fouls a lot. Their opponents get 22% of their points from the free throw line and have a free throw rate of 40.2. That means for every 100 field goal attempts, the opponent shoots 40 free throws. Cincinnati's is 30. Marshall does get to the line quite a bit. Both team have big men who will get in foul trouble. We know about UC's 3 of Jackson, Mbodj and Nyarsuk. Nigel Spikes is averaging over 3 fouls a game and has fouled out twice. Tinnon has fouled out once.
Marshall doesn't shoot the ball extraordinarily well. Cincinnati has played extraordinary defense. It seems like those things should mesh.
Cashmere Wright, Sean Kilpatrick and JaQuon Parker are very hard to guard. We've seen at least one of them go off and make big baskets every game. I'm thinking that we see Parker and Cash have big games tomorrow. Kilpatrick will get his because he's very good, but I think the Marshall defense will center around him. That leaves the other guys to have big games.
Cash did not have a big game against Marshall last year. He had 10 assists, but he was 2-10 from the field. Kilpatrick scored 19 on 7-14 shooting. Marshall had Dennis Tinnon go nuts with a 15-14 game.
I think we see someone off the bench make multiple 3 pointers. I'm looking at you, Ge'Lawn Guyn.
This seems like it should be the first real road atmosphere UC will play in this season. The games in Vegas had none. Thanks to UNLV for ruining that. It would be nice to see a little of it instead of jumping right into the fire Wednesday night.
Speaking of that, this is the start of the make right tour. 2 of the ugliest moments last season were losses to Marshall and Xavier. Time to get them back.
Cincinnati is an 11.5 point favorite.
Cincinnati 74 Marshall 60