Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE
The Bearcats romped on opening night to a 23 point win against an over matched non conference foe, the Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks. All of which was intensely familiar.
I learned last season that discussing the innate details of these games is sort of beside the point. On the rare occasions that the Bearcats lose one of these games it makes sense. But the routine, ritual slaughters that are buy games are kind of boring.
All that being said, and understood, last nights game was fun, and that is something that can't be said about many games in the Mick Cronin era. This UC team stepped on the gas early and really put UT Martin to bed early. It was 43-17 at half and the game was for all intents and purposes over then.
According to StatSheet.com, the game was statistically over at the 14:11 mark of the second half. At that point the Bearcats had taken a 56-23 which was insurmountable for the Skyhawks. That's not surprising in a game so statistically one sided.
Not only did the Bearcats dominate across the board statistically, but they completely controlled three of the four factors to winning. The biggest problem the Bearcats had was taking care of the ball.
It goes without saying, but that is entirely uncharacteristic of these Bearcats, or at least it would have been last season. But that turnover issue highlights what will be an ongoing story. The Justin Jackson guard experiment. Justin Jackson spent all off season working on his handle, his passing, his decision making because he is going to have to play a guard like role for the Bearcats offensively. Jackson has the ability to effect the game from that spot. He is obviously a gifted athlete, probably the most athletic guy on the roster. He can get to the rim, from any spot on the floor, in two dribbles or less. He finishes well around the basket and he is a gifted passer for a big, but he has a tendency to always go for the spectacular rather than the solid. That potent combination means lots of plays that make you say WOW, for better or worse. Jackson once again filled up the stat sheet, but in some areas you would rather see unfilled, like turnovers.
All in all it was a rather breezy performance for the Bearcats. The next three games are almost certain to be just as relaxing with Mississippi Valley State tomorrow before a two game swing of North Carolina A&T and the Fighting Camels of Campbell University leading up to the Global Sports Invite in Las Vegas and an opening game with Iowa State. Until then its nothing but blowouts ahead.