Another thoroughly unedifying performance by the Bearcats. If this team could ever figure out how to play two consecutive good halves of Basketball there is a slight chance that Mick Cronin could retain his job. But if this team plays with this level of inconsistency for the remainder of the year it will be another year of .500 ball or worse and the blunt axe of unemployment will fall swiftly upon the neck of Mick.
I have not mentioned this before, primarily because this blog was not in existence during last season, or the immediate aftermath thereof but I have reached a conclusion about Mick's coaching ability and this game sort of personified my position. I don't think that Cronin is a bad coach. He is not a great coach for reasons that I will get into briefly, but he is not the buffoon that the anti-Mick crowd paint him as. I think that he is an above average to good coach. He scouts opposing teams fairly well and comes up with decent gameplan's to combat them. His teams usually execute his schemes well, usually. But he never has a backup plan. Take today for example the gameplan was clearly to pound the ball inside with Yancy Gates and Ibrahima Thomas. That worked out very well, Thomas and Gates dominated the proceedings from the get go and opened up a multitude of driving lanes for the perimeter players and Sean Kilpatrick and co. slashed to the basket with a reckless abandon and UC had a 13 point lead at the half. In the second half the Dons came out in a 3-2 zone and the UC offense ground to a halt almost immediately. At that point you have to call a timeout to rehash to the team how to beat the zone and set up the zone offense. Nothing.
IPFW put up 8 points in about 90 seconds to cut the lead to 7. Then and only then did Cronin call the time out, though I haven't the slightest clue what they discussed during the timeout. Maybe it was a discussion about who forgot to make the reservations at Boi Na Braza for that night because it was the same old shit out of the timeout. Cronin is just terrible at making adjustments on the fly and it really sucks. One has to hope that they will make the proper adjustments to attack the zone because they will see a lot of it the rest of the year. It's not exactly a secret that UC sucks at 3 point shooting. Regardless the win is good, bullet points after the jump.
- Just call Rashad Bishop Ice Man because he is the only person on the team making freethrows when it counts this season.
- It is so refreshing to see an active and engaged Yancy Gates this year. I even saw him show some frustration when the guards weren't feeding him in the post. Never saw that before.
- I like Kilpatrick coming off the bench, he provides a nice spark to the offense when he checks in after about 8 minutes. That being said he has to play 25 minutes plus a game because he is the only perimeter player that is going to cause any strife for opposing teams.
- Much better performance from the starting back court. Dion Dixon and Cashmere Wright combined for 18 points on 7 of 15 shooting, but 0 of 7 from three, 5 assists, 4 TO's
- Cash is getting good at jumping those passing lanes, 4 steals today.
- Ibriahima Thomas went for 9 and 9. Pretty sure 9 rebounds is the most in a Bearcat shirt for him.
- Much better decisions today from Cash. He had the two turnovers but only one of them was truly egregious.
- Not quite sure how Frank Gaines at 6-4 managed to lead all rebounders with 11.
- UC has a big problem on defense with ball watching. All five defenders are always watching the ball and not paying much attention to their respective men. It has hurt them in each of the last two games. Against Mount Saint Mary's it allowed the Mountaineers to keep touch with UC in rebounding despite the obvious size disadvantage. Today it led to about 8 too many uncontested three point shots.