Cincinnati has never won at Notre Dame. They've lost by 17, 18 and 8. The 62-41 loss today was historical because it was the largest margin they've ever lost in South Bend. It was historical because it was the lowest point total for a Notre Dame opponent in Big East play. It was the lowest scoring game since January 29, 1993.
The Bearcats are now 19-9, 7-8 in the Big East. They are in 11th place in the standings because Providence has the tiebreaker. If the BET started today, UC would be the 10 seed. February has been a month UC had rallied the past 2 years. This one saw them go 2-5.
The offense was a disaster. UC had an offensive efficiency of 76.2. UC was 17-54, 31.5%. They were 2-12 from 2. They were 5-12 from the free throw line. UC pulled in 23.8% of their missed shots, which has to be a season low. Only JaQuon Parker scored in double figures. The Bearcats never had the lead. It was awful.
The defense was a disaster. Notre Dame had an offensive efficiency of 116.1. That was despite turning it over on over 20% of their possessions. Their OE in the first half was 119.8. The Irish had an effective field goal percentage, it weighs 3s, of 52%. ND was 22-47, 46.8%. They were 5-18 from 3 and 13-16 from the foul line. The Irish pulled in rebounds on 39.3% of their misses. Cincinnati was the best defensive rebounding team in the Big East.
This game was one of the worst of the Mick Cronin era. Right up there with the Big East tournament loss to DePaul. Right up there with getting embarrassed by Xavier last year. Up there with the ND disaster in the BET a couple years ago. Right up there with the St John's giveaway game.
This team has problems. The biggest is Cashmere Wright. He only played 24 minutes. He attempted 2 shots. He had 1 rebound and 1 assist. Cashmere Wright is the second best player on the team. He's the point guard. And he's a shell of himself. Maybe he came back too soon from his injury. He isn't the same player that we've seen the past 4 years. He isn't injured enough to not play. He's not healthy enough to play like he can. I don't know what you can do with him besides manage his minutes more. UC has no real backup point guard though. He has to play. He wants to play. It's sad seeing him out there and not being able to do what he is capable of. People said all year that Cincinnati is going to go as far as Cashmere Wright will take them. It's really unfortunate that he is hurt and is going to have a hard time taking them where he, and we, want them to go.
The team has 6 days to think about UConn and the last week of the season. 2 of the last 3 games are at home. This team needs our support. They need the fans more than ever. Both of the home games are on Saturday. We have to be there for them in their hour of need. Since it's just sports, their hour of need is beating Connecticut and beating South Florida. Things are really low right now. Gotta try to keep the spirits up. A 3-1 finish is still possible. The alternative to that is something I don't even want to entertain.
Photo via ESPN. Box score via SI. Efficiency numbers via SCACC Hoops