If you go to Go Bearcats and click on the ND game story, you'll notice there are are a lack of links at the top. Normally there are links for photo galleries, in some cases multiple galleries. There are links for the box score. There are quotes. There are notes. For the ND disaster, there is only the box score. The box score even pops out to a different page. Compare the Georgetown box score:
to the ND box:
Death Cab for Cutie's song A Lack of Color applies here. It's almost as if Go Bearcats wants to pretend the Notre Dame game didn't happen. And I don't blame them. Cincinnati has been on a very bad run as of late. Like I need to tell you. But if I actually did need to tell you, they've lost 3 in a row. They've lost 5 of 6. They've lost 6 of 9. The only wins they've picked up lately were a win over awful Rutgers where UC struggled, a win over awful Seton Hall where UC nearly blew a 20 point lead and a win over shaky Villanova where Cincinnati had an anomaly shooting-wise. If the season ends on this trajectory, the easy thing to do would be to point at the Syracuse game. Cincinnati blew a late lead during one of their their best halves of basketball this season. It would be easy to look back and say that they lost their confidence by losing that game. It would be easy to say that, but it wouldn't be true.
Cincinnati was 13-1 when the calendar turned to 2013. They've gone 6-8. They have 1 top 50 win in 2013. They have 2 top 100 wins. They've lost 6 games to top 25 RPI opponents and 2 more to other top 100 RPI teams. 1-6 against 1-25, 1-2 against 51-100, 2-8 total. A third of Cincinnati's wins in 2013 are against Rutgers. 4 of the 6 wins are against teams 12, 13 and 14 in the Big East standings. There are a lot of weak teams fighting for a spot in the NCAA tournament. I really hate to say this, but a loss to UConn on Saturday would make Cincinnati one of them. Home losses are RPI death. A loss in that game would drop UC to the low 50s. They have RPI anchor South Florida on the schedule. Losing 2 of 3 to close the regular season would be asking for trouble. So let's starting winning. Please.
Mick Cronin talked a lot about the officials after the game. He said that they gave UC no chance to win the game. Right after UC cut the lead to 9, ND went to the line 6 times in a little under 2 minutes. I don't know, questioning the officiating in a game like this is like complaining about your Ultimate Warrior face paint coming off while you are shoveling water out of a sinking boat. There were bigger concerns. The game could have been fouled in UC's favor and they still would have lost.
That said, the officials were awful. Sean Kilpatrick was hit in the face on a drive to a no call. Mbodj had some contact on his shot attempts. UC didn't get the Iowa State treatment from last night though. The officiating didn't cost them the game directly. And yes, the Ultimate Warrior face paint was the only thing I could think of.
Rebounding is about effort and hustle. Every great rebounder has said this, I'm not making it up. Cincinnati was dominated on the glass. The Bearcats pulled in 80.8% of the Irish misses in Cincinnati. They pulled in 60.7% Sunday. Notre Dame shot worse in this game, which was something you could tell because they kicked Cincinnati's ass on the glass. UC only got 23.8% of their misses. They missed a whole lot, so that was a significant amount of misses. It seemed like every rebounding attempt was like this picture.
Notre Dame is notorious for not fouling. Cincinnati helped them out with 12 free throw attempts. Rubles and Parker got to the line 6 and 4 times respectively. No free throws for Jackson, Nyarsuk, Wright or Kilpatrick, the other 4 starters. You had 4 free throws from your starting lineup in 117 combined minutes.
Notre Dame completely took away the 3 point shot from the Cincinnati offense. The Bearcats were able to drive against them when ND went zone, but UC was 31.6% on 2s in the first half and 39% in the second. The Cats were 2-12 from deep. That's their lowest total in a while. Kilpatrick and Wright tried a combined 5. That has to be their lowest total of the season.
The frustrating thing about the offense on Sunday was that UC would drive and get buckets, then start taking jumpers. Whoever would drive would come out of the game. I remember the last time UC lost at ND. They ran pick and rolls the last 5 or so minutes of the game and scored a high percentage of the time. That was working here until it stopped being a thing that UC ran.
UC had an even assist to turnover ratio. It was 5:5. I don't know how you have 5 assists on 17 baskets pretty much ever.
I talked about it some on Sunday, but Cashmere Wright has to find a way to break out of his funk. This was rock bottom as a team performance and a personal performance. He was 0-2, both 3 pointers, 1 assist and 1 rebound. He took the first shot of the game and did nothing else until more than halfway through the second half. I'm worried about him.
Justin Jackson had himself a bad Justin Jackson game. He was 1-3 for 2 points, 2 rebounds, 0 assists, 2 turnovers. He did block 2 shots. He also fouled out in 17 minutes.
I'm pretty sure David Nyarsuk won't start on Saturday. He barely played Sunday.
Sean Kilpatrick's shooting has been very bad lately. 3-13, 6-16, 3-13, 5-15, 5-14, 8-19. There was the 6-12 against Nova. He's made 4 of his last 18 three pointers. He's only attempted 13 free throws the last 4 games. His 2 single digit scoring games have come in 2 of the 3 lowest scoring Cincinnati games.
Mick talked some about how no one respects the post guys and they push out on the guards. It's really bothering SK. Him getting held more is a direct result of that. Teams had to respect Gates. Jackson and Dave attempted 4 shots. Mbodj could have attempted 100 because ND didn't care about him. I have a radical lineup change I'll mention tomorrow. Stay tuned.
JaQuon Parker carried a large part of the scoring load for the 3rd game in a row. He was the only Bearcat in double figures with 12 points. He was a large part of the UC mini-rally in the second half. Parker was just 5-12 for the game, 2-4 at the foul line. Not his most efficient game, but he had to do something and do something he did. Aggressive JaQuon Parker knows his senior season could only have 5 more games left. He wants more than that. I do too.
You could tell the slow pace of this game, and most games, killed the team. This was a 55 possession game. Right up Notre Dame's alley. Cincinnati playing so slow on offense hurts them. Having to guard for 25 seconds every trip hurts them because they aren't as good as past UC teams defensively. For example, Notre Dame hit 17 of 25 two pointers. That's nearly 59%.
Titus Rubles had 7 and 7 with 1 assist and 1 steal. Rubles didn't shoot that well, 2-6, 3-6 FTs, but he tried to make things happen. It's weird how he will be very aggressive some periods and others he is almost invisible. His defense isn't stellar, which is probably why he doesn't play a ton of minutes, but maybe it's time to say screw that and let him play. He's the best rebounder on the team.
Shaq Thomas got 20 minutes and was probably the best offensive player on the floor for UC. He's only played 20 minutes twice in Big East play. Both against Notre Dame. He had 7 points and 5 rebounds to go with 2 steals. Shaq even nailed a 3. We keep talking about the future with Thomas. The future needs to start being closer to now. Kid can play.
Mbodj played 19 minutes. He had 4 points, 4 rebounds and 4 fouls. He was 2-6 from the field because ND didn't care if he shot the ball. Mbodj threw up a couple of mid-range jumpers just to prove their strategy correct.
Despite Cash playing 23 minutes, Ge'Lawn Guyn only played 12. He made the other 3 pointer for his only basket. He had 2 rebounds. I really, really like no conscious Ge'Lawn Guyn. Keep shooting.
Jermaine Sanders played 8 minutes. He didn't do much.
I don't know why Kelvin Gaines is getting any playing time to be honest.
A week off will help. I don't know if it will help the team, but I think it will help the fans. A week without Cincinnati basketball is horrible. But people are starting to get a little crazy. Some people need relaxation time. That time will be spent fretting over if UC makes the tournament, but no one asks me those questions so I don't care if you annoy Jerry Palm.
Notre Dame, a team known for not playing defense, held UC to 41 points. The fewest points by an ND opponent in Big East play. Congrats on that, Irish.
Tom Knight and Jack Cooley were 11-14 for 23 points. They had 15 rebounds. They also had 5 assists, 3 blocks and 2 steals. ND's big men absolutely dominated.
If Jerian Grant didn't attempt a 3 pointer, Notre Dame would have shot 53.7% for the game. You ruined it, Jerian.
He was 9-9 at the foul line though. I think they will take that exchange.
This picture of Mike Brey is a horrible thing to end with, but I can easily picture the Deal With It glasses falling on his head here.
Photos via Cincinnati.com